Coronavirus Could Pose Risk To More Than 150 Million Due To ‘Overloaded’ Medical System, Says Statistician

A patient is transferred by an ambulance
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Nassim Nicholas Taleb, a statistician and former option trader and risk analyst, took to Twitter on Thursday to push back against NBC News Chief Foreign Correspondent Richard Engel’s claim that 98 percent of people will “be fine” amid the spread of the coronavirus.

“If true, the 2% at risk = 150 million people on the planet,” Taleb noted.

Engel claimed that the majority of individuals who get Covid-19 would get sick but ultimately recover. He said the most significant danger is posed to vulnerable people, such as individuals in hospitals and nursing homes. In response, Taleb suggested that this prediction failed to account for the additional deaths not directly caused by the coronavirus.

“This (very very) dangerous virushead doesn’t get that the medical system will be overloaded, hence 0000000 more casualties from unrelated conditions & diseases owing to disruptions.”

Writing for The Spectator, Ross Clark claimed that the hysteria surrounding the coronavirus is the most dangerous thing about it. According to Clark, this hysteria stems from the human tendency to mistake precaution for risk.

“We see Chinese cities being cut off, people being quarantined, factories closed, the streets emptying (save for a few people in face masks) and we interpret this as a sign of grave and imminent danger.”

Ross suggested that if China had not taken the “dramatic steps” it did to take control of the virus, people would not be as worried.

The 53-year-old British journalist pointed to other novel diseases that have made their way out of China and the tendency of health officials to label them as pandemics. Despite the eagerness to jump to such a label, Ross says that SARS and H5N1 avian flu “hardly justify” the description.

The coronavirus panic, Ross says, is part of a pattern he observes in countries he claims are the healthiest and most peaceful they have ever been.

“It is the latest phenomenon to fulfil a weird and growing appetite for doom among the populations of developed countries,” he writes.

As The Inquisitr previously reported, fears are also growing around the particular danger in the U.S. due to its healthcare system. According to The Daily Mail, the high price of the country’s medical coverage could leave some people without treatment or the benefit of proper isolation procedures, which could increase the risk of the virus’ spread.

In response to the virus’ spread, U.S. President Donald Trump has proposed a $2.5 billion spending package, which is controversially funded in part by money taken from low-income heating funds.