President Donald Trump on Tuesday continued to downplay the coronavirus and suggested the United States should learn to live with the pandemic, firing off a misleading tweet comparing COVID-19 to the flu.
In a tweet, Trump likened the highly contagious disease that has killed nearly 210,000 Americans to the seasonal flu, reprising a misleading comparison he repeatedly invoked in the early stages of the U.S. outbreak.
“Flu season is coming up! Many people every year, sometimes over 100,000, and despite the Vaccine, die from the Flu,” Trump wrote. “Are we going to close down our Country? No, we have learned to live with it, just like we are learning to live with Covid, in most populations far less lethal!!!”
In fact, the most deaths to have resulted from a flu season in the U.S. over the past decade is estimated to be roughly 61,000 in 2017-2018, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, well below the president’s claim of 100,000 or more. Over the past 10 years, an average of just under 36,000 Americans have died annually from the flu. More than 200,000 Americans have died from Covid since the virus emerged early this year.
The president’s tweet contradicts his own admission when he told The Washington Post’s Bob Woodward in a February interview that the coronavirus was five times more lethal than the flu, saying that Covid-19 is “deadly stuff” and “more deadly than … even your strenuous flus.”
Public health experts have warned that that the fall and winter months could significantly strain the nation’s health care system as it grapples with both a potential resurgence of the coronavirus and its yearly fight against the flu.
Flu season is coming up! Many people every year, sometimes over 100,000, and despite the Vaccine, die from the Flu. Are we going to close down our Country? No, we have learned to live with it, just like we are learning to live with Covid, in most populations far less lethal!!!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 6, 2020