Dr. Anthony Fauci, a key member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, warned Tuesday that taking comfort in a lower coronavirus death rate is a “false narrative” due to the many other factors that impact the virus.
“It’s a false narrative to take comfort in a lower rate of death,” he said during an event with Alabama Sen. Doug Jones according to Axios. “There’s so many other things that are dangerous and bad about the virus. Don’t get into false complacency.” (RELATED: EPA Announces First Surface-Cleaning Products Proven To Kill COVID-19)
Countries around the world have reported vastly different coronavirus death rates. Several factors, including the amount of testing, population demographics, the healthcare system, and other unknowns may affect the mortality rate, according to the John Hopkins University Coronavirus Research Center.
“Nationally, levels of influenza-like illness (ILI) and COVID-19-like illness (CLI) activity remain lower than peaks seen in March and April but are increasing in most regions,” the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in a June 27 report. The percentage of tests coming back positive for COVID-19 also increased during the last week of June compared to the week before.
“Mortality attributed to COVID-19 decreased compared to last week and is currently at the epidemic threshold but will likely increase as additional death certificates are processed,” they reported.
Fauci said that the average age of people getting infected in the United States is 15 years younger than it was several months ago. In general, “young people do not have as serious consequences from getting infected as elderly people,” he said. “But that doesn’t mean that you can not get seriously ill.”
“The death rate is lower, I admit that, because people in general who are young are healthier,” he noted.
However, young people should still be concerned about the virus, he said. “If you’re a young person with an underlying condition, diabetes, obesity, heart disease, hypertension, you are as risky as someone who is the elderly.”
Although there are fewer cases of serious complications when young people get infected with COVID-19, Fauci added, “we are now getting multiple examples of young people who are getting sick, getting hospitalized, and some of them even requiring intensive care.”
He also emphasized the importance of wearing masks.
“By allowing yourself to get infected because of risky behavior, you are part of the propagation of the outbreak,” Fauci warned. “So you are part of the problem.”
“Even though you are perfectly innocent, that you meant no harm, by getting infected, you are propagating this pandemic.”