Let’s put the coronavirus in perspective…

In his coronavirus press conference, President Trump said that he was shocked when he was informed that over 60,000 Americans died from the flu last year


That number struck me as high, so I did some fact-checking…


In fact, the CDC reports that during the 2018-2019 flu season (i.e. last year), there were 61,200 flu-related fatalities in the U.S.

That works out to about 300 deaths per day during the roughly 6-month long flu season.

And, the CDC estimates that about 25,000 Americans have already died during the current flu season (which is inly 2/3’s done).

While there is legitimate concern about the coronavirus, the “common influenza” numbers dwarf the current incidence rate of the coronavirus in the U.S. … and probably probably represent a worst case scenario if the coronavirus were to go unchecked (which it isn’t).


Why is the flu fatality rate so high in the U.S.?

First, we have an aging population and the the fatality rate is highest among older people … many of whom have other compromising health conditions.

Second, flu vaccines don’t have perfect efficacy.

Each year, the scientists have to guess which particular strains of the flu virus will be most prevalent.

While their track record is exceptionally good, sometimes there are unexpected strains that become active and  their well-reasoned guesses miss the mark.

Third, and most surprising to me, is the relatively low incidence of Americans who get flu shots.

According to the CDC, during the 2018-2019 flu season, just 45.3 percent of adults and 62.6 percent of children received flu shots.

Some folks are simply anti-vaccinations, others claim histories of adverse reactions to the shots, some are uninsured and dodge the expense, some are ignorant of the benefits … and some are just too damn lazy to stop by their local drug or grocery store to get the shot.

My question: why isn’t there more emphasis being given right now to to getting the unvaccinated folks vaccinated?

After all, there have already been 25,000 flu-related deaths this flu season … and there are still 2 months to go.


Follow on Twitter @KenHoma

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