In response, Republican Senator John Kennedy of Louisiana asks: “Are you sure of that?”
The secretary doubled down on his answer.
While he is correct on the current average for coronavirus which is considered by the World Health Organisation to be approximately 2 per cent, although it fluctuates as more data comes in, the mortality rate for seasonal flu is much lower.
Severe outbreaks of influenza in the past such as that in 1918-1919 have had a similar mortality rate to coronavirus.
Mortality rates fluctuate when the age of the patient is brought into the equation, with the very young and the elderly often most at risk.