It wasn’t all that long ago that experts were predicting horrific death tolls from the coronavirus. A month ago, MSNBC contributor Dr. Joseph Fair said that 20 percent of Americans could die from the coronavirus—which would come to 65.4 million dead. The Imperial College of London suggested that anywhere from 200,000 to 1.5 million Americans would die, depending on the level of social distancing. More recent estimates put the number at 100,000 to 200,000, but the latest from Dr. Anthony Fauci is that the U.S. death toll will be closer to 60,000.
“I believe we are going to see a downturn in that, and it looks more like the 60,000 [range] than the 100,000 to 200,000,” Fauci said on Thursday while appearing on NBC’s Today show.
“I think the American public have done a really terrific job just buckling down and doing those physical separations and adhering to those guidelines. … Models are really only as good as the assumptions that you put into the model,” he said.
60,000 dead Americans is still a tragic number but put into context, it tells us a lot about how this country has handled the coronavirus pandemic.
Forgetting the controversy over why the models were wrong, there’s a lot this 60,000 number tells us, especially considering the way the media has weaponized the situation against President Trump.
Like the models, the case fatality ratio (CFR) of coronavirus has changed—or perhaps it’s more accurate to say that there have been different estimates.
The World Health Organization estimated the CFR of the coronavirus at 3.4 percent.
Dr. Fauci estimated it at about 2.0 percent.
The Lancet Infectious Diseases medical journal believes the fatality rate of the coronavirus is actually 0.66 percent when you take into account undiagnosed and asymptomatic cases.
So, if we assume the coronavirus will ultimately take 60,000 American lives, we can roughly estimate what that means in terms of how many Americans will be infected by the coronavirus.
- Based on The Lancet’s estimate of. a .66% fatality rate, that would mean the government predicts 9.1 million Americans will be infected by the coronavirus.
- Based on Dr. Fauci’s estimate of a 2.0% case fatality rate, that would mean the government predicts 3 million Americans will be infected by the coronavirus.
- Based on the World Health Organization’s estimate of a 3.4% case fatality rate, that would mean the government predicts 1.8 million Americans will be infected by the coronavirus.
Why does this matter? Obviously this is just a basic calculation that doesn’t take into account a variety of factors, but these numbers are very revealing.
During the H1N1 pandemic, the CDC estimates there were 60.8 million American cases of the H1N1 virus, with 12,469 deaths. That’s a CFR of .02 percent.
1.8 million – 9 million infections (for coronavirus) compared to 60.8 million (for H1N1). Yet, for some reason, the media and the Democrats want us to believe that Trump botched the government response to the coronavirus pandemic, but Barack Obama didn’t botch the government response to the H1N1 pandemic.
Remember during the H1N1 pandemic there was no social distancing and no travel bans.
60.8 million Americans contracted H1N1. What would the death toll of the coronavirus be if 60.8 million Americans contracted the coronavirus? Let’s take a look:
- Based on The Lancet CFR estimate: 401,280 deaths.
- Based on Dr. Fauci’s CFR estimate: 1.2 million deaths.
- Based on The W.H.O.’s CFR estimate: 2.1 million deaths.
Simply put: Trump didn’t botch the government’s response to the coronavirus, but Obama did botch the government’s response to H1N1.
Regardless of whether the projections have come down because of social distancing or because the original projections were too high, the government clearly anticipates a much lower rate of infection for the coronavirus than we experienced with H1N1. I, for one, credit Trump for his quick action in response to the virus.
Matt Margolis is the author of Trumping Obama: How President Trump Saved Us From Barack Obama’s Legacy and the bestselling book The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama. You can follow Matt on Twitter @MattMargolis