Magazine May 18, 2020, Issue

COVID-19 Is Not the Flu

Mount Richmond Cemetery on Staten Island prepares to receive the coffins of COVID-19 victims, April 24. (Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Experience has shown that the coronavirus is much more dangerous

On January 23, the Chinese government initiated a draconian quarantine of the city of Wuhan in order to stop the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that only recently began infecting human beings. The army surrounded the city of 10 million. Soon thereafter, doors of some apartment buildings in the city were welded shut.

Not to worry, some voices in the media reassured Americans. “Get a Grippe, America. The Flu Is a Much Bigger Threat than Coronavirus, for Now,” read the headline of a February 1 Washington Post story. “Don’t Worry about the Coronavirus. Worry about the Flu,” BuzzFeed News declared on

This article appears as “It’s Not the Flu” in the May 18, 2020, print edition of National Review.

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