William J. Bennett, former Secretary of Education, has a message for America and the world about coronavirus; take a breath.
As he explains in a recent article, at time of writing there were just over 3,000 deaths out of 164,000 people who tested positive, for an infection rate of 1.9%. That’s 19 times more deadly than the seasonal flu, which has killed 24,000 people so far this year, but it’s not the entire story.
We only test those who show symptoms and can positively say they either have been in contact with someone known to have the virus or have traveled to a hot spot. This means many of those who have, or had, the disease have not been tested. One estimate puts the number of infected Americans at six million, which would drop the death rate to .01%, or one-tenth the mortality rate of the typical flu.
With that said, the virus isn’t to be ignored, especially by the at-risk population of those over 60 or with pre-existing respiratory conditions. We should take precautions. But shuttering the economy? That’s dramatic… and overkill.
As for why we do it, Bennett hints at the press. He notes that Dr. Fauci estimated that 200,000 people could die, but in the same interview said the worst case estimates are always wrong. Everyone remembers the first part, few quote the second.
“Look at the numbers, look at everything, rationally, and let us reclaim a sense of proportion.”
Let’s step away from the ledge.