The president of the United States stated in late February that “The flu, in our country, kills from 25,000 people to 69,000 people a year. That was shocking to me.” This information isn’t entirely wrong. In fact an article from health.com states, “Overall, the CDC estimates that 12,000 to 61,000 deaths annually can be blamed on the flu.” This information convinced a lot of Americans that COVID was nothing to worry about. At this point in time to think this was normal. With the lack of information from China and the faulty testing kits in the United States. We never really knew the real severity of the virus.
Making statements comparing the virus to flu prolonged the exposure to the virus by downplaying it. With so much changing information and lack of testing in the United States. Counties and States had no good reason to shut down when looking at the information of confirmed tests in a particular area. According to an article by Live Science “The first case occurred in a 35-year-old man who was tested on Jan. 19”. This was the first known case inside of the United States. This should have been used as a warning sign to politics and other Americans but during this time it was thought that this man traveled to Europe or an infected area and contracted the virus. Transmission of the virus at the time was thought to still be through touching a contaminated surface. Later on the CDC changed this to state “COVID-19 is able to be spread through the airborne route.” Meaning that infections were popping up in places that the United States never knew about. Since only one case was reported at the time life went on as usual. Events like the Super Bowl, National Championship and multiple hockey and basketball games continued to pack arenas and stadiums with potentially infected people. With the thought that the flu and COVID were very similar the virus was thought to spread all around the country in the months of February and March. The only problem was there was no way to find out. With the thought still drilled in the majority of the public’s mind life remained normal when in reality the virus spread like wildfire. To put things in perspective the virus was known to be in the United States started January 15th. An article by Life Science claimed that “the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in early February distributed 200 test kits.” When the virus starts in January and only 200 test kits are sent out, the probability that more cases exist than the ones reported get higher and higher. On top of this during this time period COVID was misidentified as the flu which could’ve led to mass amounts of infected people. The CDC stated on their website that, “Elevated influenza-like-illness is likely related to COVID-19.” meaning that in late February elevated cases the flu really just spiked the cases of COVID-19.
The public and other politicians thought that the flu and coronavirus were similar and cost the United States so valuable time in determining the severity of the virus. But information at the time supported their claims. According to a symptom list by Hopkins Medicine. The flu and COVID share around 7 known symptoms. These can include “ fever, cough, body aches and fatigue; sometimes vomiting and diarrhea” along with pneumonia. This prompted some individuals to think that the viruses were both similar.
The thing that the public didn’t take into account was the transmission. For every one person infected with the flu it is predicted that one more person will get infected. But on the other hand the coronavirus statistics are that for every one person three new people get infected. This may not seem like a lot but when repeated multiple times the virus gets harder and harder to contain. Let’s talk numbers. If you were to repeat the chain 10 times meaning 1 person infects another person. The number of infected people would be 10 people. With coronavirus it’s quite different. If you were to repeat the chain 10 times but now with the proper infection rate of 3 new people infected per every one person now 31 new coronavirus victims. The numbers only get worse as time goes on unless proper guidelines are put into place.
In conclusion, the United States and other countries will get through these tough times. Knowledge will be acquired. States and other countries will ease restrictions and life will be back to normal.
“Is the Coronavirus Worse Than the Flu” health.com. 17 April. 2020. Web. 19 April 2020.
“Coronavirus was circulating in France in December” LiveScience 14 April. 2020. Web 15 March 2020.
“Coronavirus” CDC 15 April. 2020 Web 17 March 2020