FLASHBACK: CNN’s Anderson Cooper Told Viewers To ‘Be More Concerned About The Flu’ Than Coronavirus

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Shelby Talcott Senior White House Correspondent
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CNN’s Anderson Cooper appeared to downplay the novel coronavirus on-air March 4, telling viewers that they “should be more concerned about the flu.”

Cooper spoke to CNN’s chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta about the novel coronavirus on “Anderson Cooper 360.” During the segment, Cooper told viewers that the flu is deadlier than the novel coronavirus and urged people to be more worried about that.

“Also, again, we have talked about this before, not that the flu has anything to do with the coronavirus, but half of the people in America do not get a flu shot and the flu right now is far deadlier,” according to Cooper. “So if you’re freaked out at all about the coronavirus, you should be more concerned about the flu. And you can actually do something about it and get a flu shot.”


Gupta confirmed that more people in the U.S. had died from the flu and added that “coronavirus may have a higher fatality rate than the flu.” He noted that there is a vaccine for the flu, but not one for the novel coronavirus yet. (RELATED: CNN’s Gupta: CDC May Let Employees Exposed To Coronavirus Continue Working Without ‘Approved’ Face Masks)

“15,000 people, roughly, have already died of the flu this season,” Gupta said. “A couple years ago, 60,000 people died of the flu. This coronavirus may have a higher fatality rate than the flu does but the flu, we have a vaccine for the flu. Half the country doesn’t get it. Hopefully that will change because of this.”

Cooper has since decided to anchor his show from home because of the novel coronavirus. He broadcasted from home Friday evening. The decision came because a staff member began to show symptoms of the virus. Cooper said the decision to work remote came out of “an abundance of caution.”


The novel coronavirus has put entire countries into lockdown and continues to spread across the world. Over 277,300 people have been diagnosed with the novel coronavirus as of Saturday morning, according to the New York Times. At least 11,759 people have died around the world, the NYT reported.