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Speaking about the coronavirus pandemic on CNN, Senator and Democratic presidential contender Bernie Sanders warned about the potential severity of the pandemic.
According to him, the coronavirus could cause more deaths than what presumably U.S. armed forces experienced during World War II. He also compared the impact of the coronavirus to that of a major war.
“In terms of potential deaths, and in terms of the economic impact on our economy, the crisis, we face from the coronavirus is on a scale of a major war,” he said. “And we must act accordingly. Nobody knows what the number of fatalities may end up being or the number of people who may get ill and we all hope that that number will be as low as possible.
“But we also have to face the truth and that is that the number of casualties may actually be even higher than what the armed forces experienced in World War II,” Sanders added. “In other words, we have a major major crisis and we must act accordingly. Therefore it is an absolute moral imperative that our response as a government, as a society, as a business community, and as individual citizens meet the enormity of this crisis.”
World War II was the deadliest military conflict in history. More than 3 percent of the world population perished as a result of the war. The total number of deaths from the military surpassed 21 million. The United States alone saw almost 408,000 deaths in its armed forces from the war.
In the United States, there are currently 1,215 cases of COVID-19 and more than 125,000 cases worldwide. With the estimated fatality rate of 3.4 percent, the coronavirus would need to infect an estimated 12 million people in the United States to exceed World War II casualties.
Some scientists estimate that 40-70 percent of the world’s population could become infected with COVID-19, so 12 million infected in the United States isn’t actually unlikely, considering the United States has more than 300 million people.
However, it’s important to note that COVID-19’s death rate greatly depends on your age.
Therefore, when we calculated individual death rates for each age group based on 2018 U.S. population data, we found that, if everyone in the United States got the coronavirus, approximately 6.8 million people could die.
If 40 percent of the U.S. population got the coronavirus, 2.72 million people could die, compared to 4.76 million if 70 percent got it.
That’s a marked improvement over the estimated 11 million people that could die if everyone got infected in the United States, which was just computed by multiplying population by death rate.
If Sanders was referring to the global death count, the estimated fatalities with a death rate of 3.4 percent would be 264 million people, if everyone got infected. With the lower, 40 percent infection estimate, around 105 million people would die. This would indeed exceed World War II deaths, which was at around 75 million.
Bernie Sanders could be correct — the number may get much, much worse.
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