- THE BLAZE - Oct 6, 2020 -
Daniel Horowitz -
It's just what we thought
It was the single most impactful fact disseminated by the World Health Organization in influencing the unprecedented global panic over this virus. They claimed in early March that the infection fatality rate (IFR) for COVID-19 was 3.4%. Those of us who paid attention always knew that it was bogus, but how ironic that a top WHO official has now given us the denominator we were looking for, which proves that the fatality rate of this virus is right in line with seasonal flus, although more people will be infected.
Late last week, Dr. Mike Ryan, the executive director of the WHO's health emergencies programme, said that "our best guess" is that 10 percent of the world has been infected with the virus. That is roughly 750 million people. While he meant to sow panic and push for more restrictions, he inadvertently let the cat out of the bag and gave us the infection fatality rate.
According to the WHO, roughly 1 million people have died from the virus. Let's put aside the fact that so many of those people died with the virus, not because of it and that a majority would have died within the year. Working with their official count, it would mean the implied infection fatality rate for the world, according to the WHO, is 0.13%.
Guess what else has a similar fatality rate? If you guessed the plain old flu, you won the jackpot. Here are the estimated fatality rates in the U.S. of the past decade worth of flu seasons based on CDC data.
Notice how the death rate for COVID-19 is in line with that of the seasonal flu. The 2017/2018 flu season was even considered a pandemic, and according to CDC's projected estimates, the death toll was "more than 80,000." That would result in an IFR of at least 0.18%. Yet, nobody in this country outside of those in health care circles even remembers it.
It's also important to keep in mind that the past two flu seasons were very mild, so COVID-19 likely killed out more people who were slated to die from respiratory viruses over the three-year window. Preliminary estimates of the 2019-20 flu season project just 22,000 deaths. Additionally, according to CDC, the flu essentially disappeared from the Southern Hemisphere this summer and there is solid evidence that the two respiratory viruses don't mix in the Northern Hemisphere either. Thus, you have to subtract the amount of typical flu deaths that we are missing and only focus on the net result, which further lowers the excess death burden of this virus. The number of flu deaths will likely remain low for the next year or two as a result of COVID-19.