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Mar 27, 2020 | ,

The case fatality rate is about 0.1%

Dr. Anthony Fauci, a key member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, co-authored an article published Thursday in the New England Journal of Medicine predicting the fatality rate for the coronavirus will turn out to be no worse than that of a “severe seasonal influenza.”

In an exceptionally bad flu season, the case fatality rate is about 0.1%, the authors write.

Regarding the current coronavirus pandemic, they said: “If one assumes that the number of asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic cases is several times as high as the number of reported cases, the case fatality rate may be considerably less than 1%.”

That suggests, they conclude “that the overall clinical consequences of Covid-19 may ultimately be more akin to those of a severe seasonal influenza (which has a case fatality rate of approximately 0.1%) or a pandemic influenza (similar to those in 1957 and 1968) rather than a disease similar to SARS or MERS, which have had case fatality rates of 9 to 10% and 36%, respectively.”

Fauci is the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

As WND reported Thursday, the lead author of a dire coronavirus study cited by the White House, Downing Street and other governments in their decisions implement unprecendented “social distancing” measures has drastically revised the estimated death toll of the pandemic in the U.K.

The study by Imperial College of London published March 16 estimated that 2.2 million Americans and 500,000 Britons could die. But lead author Neil Ferguson testified Wednesday to a parliamentary committee that the U.K. death toll is unlikely to exceed 20,000 and could be much lower. And more than half that number would have died anyway by the end of the year, because of their age and underlying illnesses, he told the panel.

An average of about 29,000 in the U.K. die every year of the flu and related complications.

At the White House Coronavirus Task Force daily briefing Thursday, coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx mentioned Ferguson’s dramatic downgrade of his estimate.

She said the predictions of models also “don’t match the reality on the ground in either China, South Korea or Italy.”

“Models are models. There’s enough data now of the real experience with the coronavirus on the ground, really, to make these predictions much more sound,” said Birx.

“So when people start talking about 20% of a population getting infected, it’s very scary,” she said. “But we don’t have data that matches that.”

Ferguson clarifies

Ferguson issued a clarification Thursday via Twitter, arguing his evidence to Parliament “referred to the deaths we assess might occur in the UK in the presence of the very intensive social distancing and other public health interventions now in place.”

“Without those controls, our assessment remains that the UK would see the scale of deaths reported in our study (namely, up to approximately 500 thousand),” he wrote.

However, no one in the U.S. or the U.K. was advocating at the time that no measures be taken to control the spread of the virus, points out Powerline blogger Paul Mirengoff.

“Some degree of social distancing and complete isolation of the sick were almost universally viewed as appropriate and, indeed, necessary,” he wrote.

“Yet, Ferguson’s projection became part of the basis, not just for social distancing and isolation of the sick, but for imposing lockdown style measures in some jurisdictions.”

And Ferguson acknowledged in an interview with the New York Times that a comprehensive lockdown is what he wanted.

“Based on our estimates and other teams’, there’s really no option but follow in China’s footsteps and suppress,” he said.

Mirengoff commented: “Perhaps this is why Ferguson waited so long to make it clear that, at least in the U.S., the Imperial College forecast that garnered so much attention from policy makers was a strawman.”

New York Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo, in fact, is questioning the comprehensive lockdown strategy.

“We closed everything down. That was our public health strategy,” Cuomo said Thursday. “If you re-thought that or had time to analyze that public health strategy, I don’t know that you would say, ‘Quarantine everyone.'”

On Wednesday, he said the shelter-in-place policy may be backfiring by confining vulnerable older people with younger family members.

“I don’t even know that that was the best public health policy. Young people then quarantined with older people, [it] was probably not the best public health strategy,” he said. “The younger people could have been exposing the older people to an infection.”

On Thursday, forecasters at the University of Washington’s School of Medicine released a study Thursday estimating COVID-19 could lead to more than 80,000 deaths in the U.S. by early April under the current lockdown conditions.

In 2018, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated 80,000 Americans died of flu and its complications during the previous winter, the highest death toll in at least four decades.

The current U.S. death toll for the coronavirus pandemic is 1,321, with 86,548 confirmed cases.

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