The actual coronavirus death rate is “likely orders of magnitude lower than the initial estimates,” according to a Stanford University professor of medicine.
Dr. Jay Bhattacharya told Fox’s "Tucker Carlson Tonight" on Tuesday that the virus is not as deadly as people thought.
“The World Health Organization put an estimate out that was, I think, initially 3.4 percent. It's very unlikely it is anywhere near that. It's much likely, much closer to the death rate that you see from the flu per case,” he told host Tucker Carlson.
He pointed out the difference between the flu and coronavirus is the lack of a vaccine for the virus.
"The problem, of course, is that we don't have a vaccine," Bhattacharya said. "So in that sense, it's more deadly and more widespread than the flu, and it overwhelms hospital systems, the ways the flu doesn't."
He said he is less afraid of the virus now than he was when he began his research.
More research on how many undiagnosed cases exist will give scientists and health officials a more accurate understanding of how widespread the virus is, he said.
“"It really seems like there's many, many cases of the virus that we haven't identified with the testing regimens that we've got around the world," he said. "Many orders of magnitude more people have been infected with it, I think. I think that we realize that ... means that ... the death rate is actually lower than people realize, also by orders of magnitude.”
He said the more numbers officials obtain, the more statistics can be used to help “quell the fear that’s out there.”
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