Dr. Anthony Fauci Explained: Coronavirus Is Ten Times More Lethal Than Seasonal Flu

The seasonal flu that we deal with every year has a mortality of 0.1%. The stated mortality, overall of this, when you look at all the data including China is about 3%. It first started off at 2% and now it is 3%.



I think if you count all the cases of minimally symptomatic or asymptomatic infection, that probably brings the mortality to somewhere around 1%, which means it is 10 times more lethal than seasonal flu.

If we were complacent and do not do really aggressive containment and mitigation, the number could go way up, and be involved in many, many millions. If we taught to contain we could splatter it, we have got to change our behavior. We have to essentially assume that we are going to get hit and that is why we talk about making mitigation and containment in a much more vigorous way.

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People ask: why would want to make any mitigation, we don't have any cases? That is when you do it!

We would hope that as we get to warmer weather it would go down. What we see every year with influenza as you get to March, April and May it actually goes way down. And another non-novel coronavirus, but common cold coronaviruses often do that. So, for someone to at least consider that that might happen, it is reasonable. But, underline but, we do not know what this virus is going to do.

We would hope that as we get to warmer weather it would go down but we can not proceed under that assumption. We have got to assume that it is going to get worse and worse and worse.

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Whenever you have an outbreak that you can start seeing community spread, which means by definition that you do not know what the index case is and the way you can approach it, is by contact-tracing. When you have enough of that, then it becomes a situation when you are not going to able to effectively and efficiently contain it.

Whenever you look at the history of outbreaks, what you see now in an uncontained way, and although we are containing it in some respects. We keep getting people coming in from the countries that are travel-related, we have seen that in many of the state that is now involved. And when you get community-spread, it makes the challenge greater. So, I can say we will see more cases and things will get worse than they are right now. How much will get will depend on our ability to do 2 things:

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To contain the influx of people who are infected coming from the outside, and the ability to contain and migrate within our own country.

If you have someone who has a reason to believe that they are infected, either they have symptoms or they have come into contact with someone who is either traveled-related or who is in fact documented to have been infected or exposed. That is something where you go to a physician, you get a test and you find that if an individual is infected.

The other that was discussed is a surveillance type where you are not looking to see. If anybody has been exposed but you want to find what the penetrance of this particular infection is. And that is a different thing than the physician-patient relationship. That is trying to get a feel for what is out there. To get an idea for getting the people who think they may be infected who actually is infected.

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