When the news consists just about entirely of the Wuhan virus, and seemingly every death merits a headline, it is easy to lose perspective. So it is time to update this chart, which I have posted a couple of times before. It is very simple: it shows 1) the average number of deaths per year, worldwide, due to the seasonal flu virus, which is around 470,000; 2) the total number of Wuhan virus deaths as of yesterday, as reported by the World Health Organization, 40,598; the number of flu deaths in the U.S. in the 2017-18 flu season, 61,000; and the number of Wuhan deaths so far in the U.S., as reported yesterday by the Centers for Disease Control, 3,603. Click to enlarge:
The global number is undoubtedly low due to false reporting from China and (I assume) Iran, but even if you multiply the Chinese figure by 10 and the Iranian by 3, we are still only one-sixth of the way to a normal flu season, in terms of fatalities. Given the hysteria with which we are inundated, I assume the Wuhan virus will, in the end, at least be equal to an average flu season, both globally and in the U.S. But at the moment, it is hard to see how we are going to get there.
UPDATE: Yesterday was a bad day for deaths in the U.S., so I have updated the chart to reflect the most recent numbers.