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Call it the Corona Flu. Watch the panic fade.



How stupid is all the panic over the corona virus? This morning I found myself agreeing with 2 Democrats and an Iranian government official.

It is the flu. A new strain, but nevertheless even with the exotic name of COVID-19, the Virus That Is Going To Kill Us All is the flu.

A few people get it. In linking an article, "Authorities report 2nd corona virus death in U.S.," Lucianne Goldberg noted, "Latest victim in his 70s. Flu always deadly to those with medical issues."

We need calm voices such as hers. This is a serious matter. The flu killed 36,000 Americans last year, and the death toll in the past five winters ranged from 23,000 and 61,000.

Let's see what an expert has to say. Dr. Henry I. Miller is a physician and molecular biologist. He was the founding director of the Office of Biotechnology at the FDA.

On Sunday, Dr. Miller wrote, "Dr. Anthony Fauci, the articulate, veteran director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, described at the presser how the efforts to prevent the spread — or contain the virus — would continue, but warned that we should expect the number of corona virus cases in the United States to increase.

"Fauci emphasized that the chance of becoming infected remains low and that the majority of those who contract the virus —75% to 80% —will experience it like a 'bad flu or a cold.' The other 15% to 20%, he said, may need advanced medical care."

I thought it was clear. A minority of the flu cases will require more than stay home, get plenty of rest, and drink plenty of liquids. Both Lucianne and the deputy Iranian health minister (she is going to love that coupling) are correct in saying those with medical issues will be hardest hit if they get the flu — any flu.

So why are we in a panic?

Dr. Miller wrote, "Some of the 'if it bleeds, it leads' media immediately jumped on the 15% to 20% figure, multiplied it by the entire U.S. population of about 330 million, and concluded that we might need 50-60 million hospital beds, for which we are unprepared."

Why on Earth would we need 60 million hospital beds?

We don't because not everyone is going to get the flu.

Most of the people who do get the flu don't seek medical treatment. Those who do are the sickest 15% to 20%.

Some panicky people believe the Red Chinese government is playing down the death toll. Maybe. But the discrepancy between the official number of corona virus deaths and the actual deaths is that the latter number includes all flu deaths. Medical professionals are cautious (and rightly so) in attributing deaths to the corona virus because they want good information.

There is a time to politick, and there is a time to govern. I am confident that men like Dr. Miller and Dr. Fauci got into the public health field because they wanted to save lives.

As for Wall Street last week, we were due for a correction and things got carried away. But we likely bottomed out. I say this because Paul Krugman spiked the ball with a tweet, "Dow 25,000." Watch the ball bounce back and hit Krugman in the nose.



Some people point to the Spanish flu epidemic of 1918, which infected a half-billion people (one third of the world's population then) and killed 20 million to 50 million people. That was more than died in World War I. But that war downgraded sanitary conditions which may have helped in its transmission.

Soap and water, as well as hand sanitizers, can reduce one's chances of getting this strain of the flu.

Remember SARS? People now look back and say it was overblown. It wasn't. Good people at the CDC protected the nation from that year's Virus That Is Going To Kill Us All. They will do it again.

And calling it the Corona Flu would go a long way in calming people down until then.

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