In fact, the most deaths to have resulted from a flu season in the U.S. over the past decade is estimated to be roughly 61,000 in 2017-2018, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 200,000 Americans have died from Covid since the virus emerged early this year.
And while flu strains change from year to year, varying in severity, most people have some underlying immunity based on prior exposure. But the coronavirus was only identified late last year.
Trump himself appeared to tell The Washington Post’s Bob Woodward in a February interview that the coronavirus was five times more lethal than the flu, saying that Covid-19 is “deadly stuff” and “more deadly than … even your strenuous flus.”
Public health experts have warned that that the fall and winter months could significantly strain the nation’s health care system as it grapples with both a potential resurgence of the coronavirus and its yearly fight against the flu.
Trump’s tweet resembles other messaging from the president in the past 24 hours that has been dismissive of the disease’s threat — even as he has received two rounds of oxygen therapy, two experimental drugs, and one steroid generally reserved for severe or critical Covid-19 cases.
Ahead of his departure from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Trump tweeted on Monday afternoon that Americans should not “be afraid of Covid” and should not “let it dominate your life.”
Upon his return to the White House on Monday evening, the still-contagious president ascended the steps to the Truman Balcony and removed his mask to pose and salute for the cameras before entering the executive mansion.
And in a video message posted to Twitter later Friday night, Trump claimed he might be “immune” from the coronavirus — despite testing positive for Covid-19 last week — and again urged Americans: “Don’t let it dominate. Don’t let it take over your lives.”