COVID-19: just a bad flu?

Last night Pres. Trump spoke to the nation about the Corona virus epidemic.

Quotes: “I am shocked by the number of people who die from the common flu annually. ” The gist being this cannot be much worse than the flu.

Said “he did not think the virus’s spread was “inevitable.””  The intent: calm the jittery markets.  Attack Dems and free Press for raising alarms. I thought health care is about saving lives, not saving the stock market!

So I thought it was time to do some research (to satisfy my wife who asked) isn’t this just a bad flu?

How about death rates?


For 2017/2018 season  – the over all death rate/number of cases was 61,000/45,000,000 = 0.136 %

(Yes DT there are many thousands of cases every year)

MERS (a coronavirus)

Since September 2012,  2,494 confirmed cases (WHO)

MERS-CoV associated deaths since September 2012:  858

the overall death rate was 858/2494 = 34.4 %

For more: MERS Situation Updates


SARS (a coronavirus)

The sample’s overall case-fatality rate was 2.3%

but that depends a lot on the sample group:



Overall cases 72,000 (as of this writing); overall death rate is 2.3%

But the death rate is much higher in the critically ill and elderly:  49%


How infectious are these viruses compared to one another:

Screen Shot 2020-02-27 at 4.38.27 PM


I.e.  how many uninfected people (red) will one COVID-19 infected patient (yellow) infect?  Hope this helps.

MORE on the infection rate from a different source (probably more accurate):

Screen Shot 2020-03-06 at 3.36.47 PM

About D. Posnett MD

Emeritus Prof. of Medicine, Weill Cornell Medical College
This entry was posted in Health Care, Trump, Uncategorized, Zeldin. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to COVID-19: just a bad flu?

  1. sbp414 says:

    Thanks David, helpful info!

    Sent from my iPhone


  2. More bad news today:

    “Testing for coronavirus is not available yet in New York City,” said Stephanie Buhle, spokeswoman for the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the largest U.S. municipal public health agency. “The kits that were sent to us have demonstrated performance issues and cannot be relied upon to provide an accurate result.”

  3. Pingback: COVID is Much Much Worse than the Flu | Resist and Replace

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