What if the Coronavirus had made its way to the American shores without any fanfare?
More important: What if COVID-19 had struck during peak flu season?
The Chinese government has been criticized for not divulging the nature of the COVID-19 virus early on, but it is worth remembering the Coronavirus emerged in China mid-November, the beginning of the flu season.
Yes, the Chinese government was warned by a Chinese doctor, who later succumbed to the COVID-19 virus—that something was off.
Too many patients were presenting with symptoms unlike previous flu seasons.
Still, it was flu season.
Contrary to popular convention—it was reasonable during the early stages of the virus for the Chinese government to assume the symptoms being presented were a part of the flu—not some novel virus.
The question: What if the Coronavirus had struck America?
More important, what if the virus had struck without warning?
During the peak flu season would cases of COVID-19 have been mistaken as merely the flu?
It’s not only possible—it’s highly likely, especially at the onset of the outbreak.
There is another aspect of the flu season to consider—we as a nation have become accustomed to seeing the flu.
In fact, we expect to be hit by the flu every year.
In 2018-19, the U.S. experienced over 60,000 deaths attributed either directly or indirectly to the flu and we didn’t even bat an eye.
It’s not that deaths due to the flu aren’t disheartening—but they simply aren’t something we panic over.
Why, because it’s expected.
It’s normal. (Read: The Recipe for Panic)
Given our expectations, could the Coronavirus have gone undetected in the U.S. at the earliest stages of the virus?
When all is said and done—the numbers of fatalities due to COVID-19 may not rise to the level of being statistically meaningful.
In effect, any additional deaths that occurred due the Coronavirus would have been seen as in-line with expected annual totals for the flu alone.
In fact, when the combined deaths attributed directly or indirectly to the flu and COVID-19 are calculated from a statistical perspective—that total may not be significantly out of line with yearly expectations due solely to the flu.
What makes the deaths attributed to the Coronavirus significant; we’ve been forewarned.
More to the point, we’ve been panicked by constant coverage over the COVID-19 virus—into seeing it as abnormal—different.
So, we have reacted differently to it.
We don’t compare the death total of the flu to deaths associated with COVID-19.
We segregate the two.
We see Coronavirus deaths as some how more significant.
The question remains, without any forewarning, would we have even noticed the Coronavirus—or would every case of COVID-19 been lumped in with the seasonal flu?