Military Surgeon: ‘Trump Is Right’ on the Seasonal Flu Being More Dangerous than Coronavirus

Flu Deaths In this Feb. 26, 2015 photo taken through the eyepiece of a microscope, human c
AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

Air Force Brig. Gen. Paul A. Friedrichs, Joint Staff Surgeon, said Tuesday at a Pentagon briefing that President Trump is “right” that the seasonal flu is more dangerous than the coronavirus.

“So, the president is right. I know you’re shocked that I said that, but the president is right,” Friedrichs said to a reporter. “There are more people ill with the seasonal flu than there are ill with coronavirus worldwide and in the United States and in the military.”

He added:

The reasons that we are taking the precautions that you are seeing is that this is a new virus and we are continuing to learn about this virus, about how easy it is to spread the virus, and in particular and in an environment like this in close spaces, we’re trying to figure out the best way to mitigate the risk until we have solid data on that.

You know the military is good on planning, we’re also good on trying to decrease risk. So we’d rather mitigate that risk up front than wait and find out that we should have done it because multiple people got sick along the way.

The reporter had asked him what the difference in impact on the Pentagon is of the coronavirus than the seasonal flu, since it seemed the Pentagon was taking it more “seriously than the flu.”

The reporter added, “the president himself thinks that the seasonal flu is more dangerous, and he actually tweeted about that,” prompting Friedrichs’ response.

Trump tweeted on Monday:

“So last year 37,000 Americans died from the common Flu. It averages between 27,000 and 70,000 per year. Nothing is shut down, life & the economy go on. At this moment there are 546 confirmed cases of CoronaVirus, with 22 deaths. Think about that!”


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