No, the Coronavirus Is Not Like the Flu

By Katherine J. Wu

Mere hours after defiantly advising Americans not to fear the coronavirus or let it “dominate your life,” President Trump took to Twitter on Tuesday morning with misleading comparisons of Covid-19 to the flu.

“Many people every year, sometimes over 100,000, and despite the Vaccine, die from the Flu,” Mr. Trump tweeted on Tuesday morning. “Are we going to let it close down our Country? No, we have learned to live with it, just like we are learning to live with Covid, in most populations far less lethal!!!”

Flu season is coming up! Many people every year, sometimes over 100,000, and despite the Vaccine, die from the Flu. Are we going to close down our Country? No, we have learned to live with it, just like we are learning to live with Covid, in most populations far less lethal!!!

But his comparisons of Covid-19 and the flu stand in sharp contrast to months of data gathered by experts, who have repeatedly said that the coronavirus poses a far more serious threat than influenza viruses. Based on data gathered thus far, most flu viruses are less deadly and less contagious than the coronavirus. And while flu vaccines and federally approved treatments for the flu exist, no such products have been fully cleared by governing bodies for use against the coronavirus.

Twitter appended a note to Mr. Trump’s tweet, saying that it violated the company’s rules about spreading false and misleading information about the virus. But it kept the post up, saying that it was in the public interest to keep it accessible. Facebook removed a similar post from Mr. Trump, saying that the company removes incorrect information about the coronavirus.

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