By: Frank Salvato


“In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity.”

– Sun-Tzu

The coronavirus – or SARS-CoV-2 – is indeed real and it is causing deaths around the world. But while the stock markets are reacting in typical kneejerk fashion, we would be wise to truly understand the threat posed by the virus. When put into context, this outbreak is less panic-worthy than the media is depicting.

Hospitalization for SARS-CoV-2 is reported at approximately 75,000 worldwide. There have been approximately 2,000 deaths attributed to the virus, and it has a mortality rate ranging from 2.9 percent to just 0.4 percent, depending on the age of the person afflicted; the mortality rate for geriatric individuals being higher and younger victims lower. People ages 10 to 39 had a reported mortality rate of 0.2 percent and nobody 9 and under has died of the virus to date.

Juxtaposed to the mortality rate for the influenza A and influenza B viruses we begin to see things more clearly.

In the United States alone, influenza A and influenza B – “the flu” – has already been the cause of an estimated 26 million illnesses, 250,000 hospitalizations, and 14,000 deaths this season, these statistics reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This flu season, so far, about 1 percent of people in the United States have developed symptoms deemed severe enough for hospitalization. This is similar to the rate last season and considered normal. The mortality rate for influenza A and influenza B is roughly 0.05 percent.

Additionally, when we compare SARS-CoV-2 to other outbreaks that have been covered in contemporary news coverage we gather more context and move further away from panic:

  • Ebola Virus Disease (specifically EBOV): 83%-90%
  • AIDS/HIV Infection: 80%-90% (not actually lethal but patients usually develop fatal respiratory diseases because of immunodeficiency caused by the virus)
  • Anthrax: 85%
  • Bubonic Plague: 60%
  • Tuberculosis: 43%
  • Smallpox: 30%
  • Typhoid fever: 20%

To put even more context to the issue, according to FBI statistics in 2018:

  • 1,515 people (0.00045% of the US population) were killed by knives or other cutting instruments
  • 692 (0.00020%) by fists, feet and other “personal weapons”
  • 443 (0.00013%) people were killed by hammers, clubs and other blunt objects
  • 297 (0.00008%) people killed by rifles including assault rifles

Deaths on our highways reached approximately 38,800 (0.0116423022%) in 2019. In 2017, 47,600 (0.0141027888%) people died from an overdose of opioids.

And it’s no mystery how the virus spreads. Just like the common flu that comes around every year, SARS-CoV-2 is spread from human to human via expelled droplets. The World Health Organization explains it thusly:

“The disease can spread from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth which are spread when a person with SARS-CoV-2 coughs or exhales. These droplets land on objects and surfaces around the person. Other people then catch SARS-CoV-2 by touching these objects or surfaces, then touching their eyes, nose or mouth. People can also catch SARS-CoV-2 if they breathe in droplets from a person with SARS-CoV-2 who coughs out or exhales droplets.”

Per the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA), prevention is a boat-load of common sense:

“Prevention is the best approach. General preventative measures include handwashing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands, avoiding contact with people who are sick, staying at home when you are sick, covering your face when coughing or sneezing, throwing any used facial tissues in the trash and frequently disinfecting surfaces you may touch.”

So, why the unbridled panic? Yes, we know less about the virus than the other diseases mentioned, but given the context of its lethality, it doesn’t warrant the mass panic that is being fomented by the mainstream media.

Tuesday, Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the CDC issued a statement saying that Americans should prepare “for significant disruption of our lives,” intimating that a great disruption in our daily lives was imminent. This caused the fickle stock market to plummet. Messonnier is the sister of former deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein, by the by.

The Chicago Sun-Times reports:

“…[the] S&P 500 is now 12% below the all-time high it set just a week ago. This is now the stock market’s worst week since October 2008, when Wall Street was mired in the financial crisis.”

Aside from the fact that the stock market is an antiquated measure for our economy (it has been obsolete in the immediate for decades), why the panic? Given the established mortality rates for SARS-CoV-2 in context, does an outbreak of this virus warrant the damage it is doing to the US and world economies?

Something stinks here and this is what I believe it is.

The Progressive usual suspects who lord of the narratives the mainstream media feeds to the masses had no way of making the economy an issue going into the November General Elections. The stock market was at an all-time high, unemployment is at an all-time low across the board, homeownership – and especially minority homeownership – is at the highest levels in a long time; the US economy is in great shape and only getting better. So, the question facing the usual suspect political ideologues in the media was this. How do we create chaos and panic to put the economy back into play politically?

People are motivated to the polls when they are touched either emotionally or financially. If a candidate is lucky enough to have an issue that touches both it is a gift, politically speaking. Creating chaotic insecurity about the US economy touches voters in the wallet (financially), and especially those who do not take the time to educate themselves on the issues and/or put the provocation into context. The panic introduced by the media over SARS-CoV-2 is the perfect chaotic mechanism to put the economy back into play for Progressives and Democrats going into November.

The President and his team need to capture the narrative on SARS-CoV-2 immediately; before any further damage is done to both the economy and his significant chance for a landslide victory in the Fall. He’s done it before in the fashion of Ronald Reagan (taking the message directly to the people). Let’s see if he can do it again.

Frank Salvato is a managing partner at TR² Consulting Group, LLC. He is the host of The Underground podcast as heard on iHeart Radio, Pandora, Spotify, and anywhere podcasts are heard. His writing has been recognized by the US House International Relations Committee and the Japan Center for Conflict Prevention. His analysis has been published by The American Enterprise Institute, The Washington Times, and Accuracy in Media, and is nationally syndicated. Mr. Salvato appeared on The O’Reilly Factor on FOX News Channel and is the author of six books examining internal and external threats facing our country. He can be heard twice weekly on “The Captain’s America: Third Watch” radio program syndicated nationally on the Salem Broadcasting Network and Genesis Communications affiliate stations.