BAD MATH ALERT: No, the seasonal flu doesn’t have a 10% fatality rate… it’s actually less than 0.1%… here’s the math

Tuesday, March 17, 2020
By Paul Martin

by: Mike Adams
Monday, March 16, 2020

One of the serious problems we are dealing with right now in our world is the fact that pro-Trump publishers and pundits have largely decided the coronavirus is a hoax because acknowledging the existence of the pandemic might hurt Trump, they figure. This delusional thinking is summed up by the new mantra of right-wing denialism: “It’s no worse than the flu.”

Rush Limbaugh has been touting that line for weeks, oblivious to the mathematics of epidemiology and viral transmission. Even celebrity doctors like Dr. Drew are recklessly downplaying the severity of this outbreak, following several weeks of President Trump initially claiming the virus was no big deal and would just magically disappear. (He first said that when America had 15 infections, by the way. We now have 4,600+. Thankfully, Trump quickly changed his tune and began to get more serious about it.)

But the worst case of bad information we’ve seen so far happens to come from our friends at The Gateway Pundit, where a column by Joe Hoft (the brother of Jim Hoft, the publisher) has written an article that essentially claims the case fatality rate for the regular flu is 10%.

We say this with respect for the monumental effort that TGP is making to survive and prosper in an age of extreme censorship of pro-Trump voices, but the claim by Joe Hoft overestimates the actual case fatality rate of the flu by over 100 times and achieves the dissemination of truly misleading information that may persuade many conservatives to downplay the severity of this virus to their own demise. If Trump loses in November, it will likely be because so many conservatives died from following bad coronavirus information, enabling the Democrats to drop-kick a living, walking zombie named Joe Biden across the finish line.

The Gateway Pundit, by the way, shares our fate of being banned by every left-wing tech platform for the crime of being effective during the 2015 – 2016 election season at helping get Trump elected. Since then, TGP has exposed the lunacy of left-wing politicians on a daily basis, earning a high amount of readership among Trump supporters and conservatives in general. We’re fans of TGP’s previous work, which is why we bring this up: It’s important for TGP to get the math right on this issue. And so far, the truly bad math on their article doesn’t rise to the level of reporting we would expect from TGP, which is why I’m bringing it up here, perhaps at risk of getting criticized myself by the many TGP fans. Nonetheless, I’ll stick my neck out on this issue, since the real math is quite clear, and I’m pretty damn good at math, being that I’m a lab scientist who does this sort of math every day.

In fact, my pandemic projection model has been shockingly accurate so far at predicting the numbers of infections and deaths. I’ll cover that in another post.

The article essentially claims that the seasonal flu kills 10% of those it infects, but the math approach is incorrect

With apologies to Joe Hoft if any of this seems unjustifiably harsh, here’s how he arrives at his 10% figure for the seasonal flu:

Citing this CDC page, Hoft’s article examines the number of current deaths this year from the flu, which the CDC estimates to be 22,000. Notably, this number is an estimate by the CDC, not proof that 22,000 deaths were confirmed to have been caused by seasonal influenza.

Joe Hoft then divides this 22,000 estimate by the “No. of positive specimens” reported by the CDC under the column heading, “Data Cumulative since September 29, 2019 (week 40)” which gives the number of 222,552 positive specimens having been tested so far. Importantly, this is talking about actual tests, not a projection or estimate of the total number infected.

The Rest…HERE

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