The President pushed back on comparisons between the coronavirus pandemic and the 1918 pandemic commonly called the “Spanish Flu.” He said, “You can’t compare this to 1918 where close to 100 million people died. That was a flu, a little different. That was a flu where if you got it you had a 50/50 chance, or very close, of dying.”
Facts First: Trump is exaggerating. Though estimates of the mortality rate for the 1918 flu pandemic vary widely since records from that period are incomplete, there are not any credible estimates as high as 50%. Scholars estimate the mortality rate is between about 2% and 20%.
“Net, net you can find credible death rate estimates from 2-10 percent,” Dr. Brilliant said. “Either way that is a far cry from 50 percent.”