President Donald Trump’s former chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said the United States has “overreacted a little bit to coronavirus” while arguing that Americans should head back to work while wearing masks and observing social distancing guidelines.
“The fact that it’s difficult to get this disease from touching stuff… should sort of reset how we look at this,” Mulvaney told CNBC’s Joe Kernen. “What it means is that if we are carful about social distancing and putting on masks and so forth, we should be able to go back to work sooner rather than later.”
Mulvaney noted that 80,000 Americans died during the 2017-2018 flu season to compare how the country reacted then and now, though he failed to acknowledge that the death rate from the novel coronavirus is significantly higher.
“Not to say that COVID is the ordinary flu, that’s not my point,” Mulvaney said. “But my point is that almost 100,000 people died two years ago from flu and the country didn’t shut down. It’s time to sort of deal with this in the proper perspective, and that’s to allow us to get back to work safely.”
Nearly 100,000 people have died from the coronavirus in the span of two and a half months. (By contrast the number of the dead from the 2017-2018 flu season Mulvaney cites covers a much longer period.) Bloomberg reporter Jack Fitzpatrick also noted that the “worst year in the last decade for U.S. flu deaths was 61,000, per CDC estimates.”
Mick Mulvaney on @SquawkCNBC: "Almost 100,000 died just a few years ago from the flu and the country didn’t shut down."
This is not true. The worst year in the last decade for U.S. flu deaths was 61,000, per CDC estimates: https://t.co/NnA2b16Mpp
— Jack Fitzpatrick ☘️ (@jackfitzdc) May 26, 2020
Alan is a writer, editor, and news junkie based in New York.