# The 99 Percent Totally Harmless Virus

At his July 4th rally at Mount Rushmore, South Dakota, President Donald Trump declared that 99 percent of all coronavirus cases “are totally harmless.” Well that was certainly reassuring.

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But before we rush out to celebrate that great news, let’s check the math. There have been some 2,852,000 cases in the United States, and about 130,000 people have died.

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## President's Math Was A Bit Off About Harmless Coronavirus Cases

So, it looks as though the president’s math was just a bit off. It turns out that 4.6 percent of the people who contracted the virus have died. And if we were to add in the thousands who currently have the virus who will die over the next month or two, then perhaps just 95 percent of the coronavirus cases will prove to be "totally harmless."

Interestingly, not one person in his “yuge” audience, and not one member of his administration “of the best people”, corrected the president’s sunny numerical assessment. And even most of the “fake news” outlets let this error go uncorrected.

Perhaps our stable genius president needs to take a remedial math refresher course at Trump University. Calculating percentages is one of the most important mathematical skills you should have learned in middle school.

But even a 95 percent “totally harmless” figure is far too optimistic. Indeed, ask the nearly three million Americans who have survived the virus if they would describe it in those terms.

## The Rising Numbers Of New Cases

Despite the president’s amazingly sunny predictions that the coronavirus “will just fade away,” during the last two weeks we have experienced a rapidly rising number of new cases almost every day. Dr. Anthony Fauci, our leading epidemiologist, has predicted that the average number of daily cases – currently about 50,000 -- will likely double in the coming months.

Our president is a notorious risk-taker. Indeed, the man has gone through four bankruptcies. So, let me propose one last risk he can take.

First, expose himself to the coronavirus. If he becomes infected, then ask him the same question every day: Do you still think this virus is 99 percent totally harmless?

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Steve Slavin has a Ph.D. in economics from NYU, and has written twenty math and economics books, including “The Great American Economy: How Inefficiency Broke It, and What We Can Do to Fix it.” The 12th edition of his introductory economics text came out in September.

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