Letters to the Editor

Letter: COVID-19 coronavirus vs. H1N1 swine flu

To the Editor:

In response to Jim Gigl’s letter of March 24, I agree with him when he writes, “It’s amazing how people can read the same information but come to basically opposite conclusions.” I will add: Especially true when comparing "apples to oranges."

Gigl praises President Donald Trump’s response to the COVID-19 coronavirus as swift and effective, and Obama’s response to the 2009 H1N1 swine flu which he characterizes at ineffective and a failure.

Gigl says, “…look at the actual facts.”

OK. The swine flu was not nearly ascontagious as the coronavirus, which is why it took six months to go from “public emergency” (announced 2 days after the first U.S. infection) to “pandemic”.

The fatality rate of the swine flu was significantlyless than that of the COVID-19 virus. Gigl’s November 2009 rounded off data and the CDC’s U.S. April 2010 more accurate data do agree that the fatalityrate was 0.02% of the infections or 1 out of every 5,000. The CDC’s data for swine flu was 60.8 million U.S. cases (1.4 billion worldwide), 274,000 hospitalizations, and 12,500 deaths.

Now compare that to the U.S. coronavirus data for March 23: 50,982cases (diagnosed, not hospitalizations), 655 fatalities for a death rate of 1.3%, or 1 out of 78 cases.

The coronavirus is much more contagious and much more lethal. In Italy: 63,927 cases, 6,077 deaths. A mortality rate of 9.5%, or approximately 1 out of 10.

Obama's response was not only appropriate, he established a White House office to prepare for pandemics and infectious diseases, which Trump disbanded in 2018. In addition, Obama established satellite pandemic offices in 47 vulnerable countries, 37 of which Trump proposed to eliminate in his 2021 fiscal year budget.

Quoting Time magazine online, “Under fire for coronavirus response, Trump officials defend disbanding pandemic team”:

“President Donald Trump dismissed criticism that disbanding the team had slowed things down, calling it a 'nasty question' at a White House briefing. 'I don’t know anything about it,' ” [a lie.]

“ 'We worked very well with that office,' Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told Congress on March 11. 'It would be nice if the office was still there.' ”

David Thiessen


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