Popular podcast host Joe Rogan was left baffled as disease expert Michael Osterholm estimated that the coronavirus outbreak will be “10-15x worse” than the flu in terms of fatalities.
The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has the world on high alert, as the spread of its constituent virus (SARS-CoV-2) continues to threaten the health of the world’s population.
With the world seemingly in SOS, Joe Rogan addressed the coronavirus outbreak during Episode 1439 of the Joe Rogan Experience. And who better to have breakdown relevant information about the disease than the expert who predicted it all? Enter Michael Osterholm.
Before Rogan and Osterholm delved into the specifics on coronavirus, the epidemiologist prefaced the conversation by providing context through comparisons to the common flu — which in itself has caused 34 million illnesses, 350,000 hospitalizations and 20,000 deaths this season, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
When referring to the estimated fatality rate, Osterholm stated that “this could be at least 10-15x worse than the worst seasonal flu year that we see.”
Osterholm’s ‘conservative’ estimations foreshadow that coronavirus could require 48 million hospitalizations, with a total of 96 million cases. But in terms of fatalities, the expert projected over 480,000 deaths within the next 3-7 months.
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Given these estimations, that would place coronavirus as 24x more deadly than this season’s influenza virus.
Osterholm’s figures are based on only partial and early data about the outbreak which has escalated within the past two to three weeks.
“This is not one to take lightly,” Osterholm prefixed. “Just remember, two weeks ago, we were talking about almost no cases in the United States. Three weeks ago, Italy was living life just fine — now they’re literally in a virtual shutdown in the northern parts of Italy.”
Moreover, Osterholm detailed the severity of Italy’s situation as he read a message from a Physician working in a Milan hospital. “They’re deciding who they have to let die; they aren’t screening the staff anymore, because they need all hands on deck.”
Rogan continued to prompt the expert on the potential risk factors, with SARS-CoV-2 known to target the vulnerable (i.e., those with underlying health issues). Osterholm admitted that the United States is at “ground zero” for one of the most major health ongoing issues, Obesity.
Rogan then questioned what steps the average person can do to help prevent the spread of the disease? Well, face masks were labeled as “nonsense” and the only precautionary measure to prevent becoming infected would be to self-isolate away from densely populated areas.