Ben Shapiro on the Coronavirus

**Note As of March 18, 2020 this issue has changed dramatically. Below is a clip from his most recent show 3/17/2020. 

Below is the original post of Ben Shapiro’s initial views on the Coronavirus. 

One week after Ben Shapiro’s official Facebook channel shared a link to the Andrew Klavern show talking about the Coronavirus, he spoke about the virus on his show. It should be noted that this is an extremely developing issue but since it involved a potential pandemic, we thought it reasonable to share.

“I’m always one of these people that thinks it’s never time to worry until it’s time to worry…but this (Coronavirus outbreak as of 12/26/2019) is beginning to look not so good.”  He goes on to correctly acknowledge that the W.H.O. has declared the Coronavirus a global health emergency (which they did, last Thursday).

Shapiro continues “apparently there are now 200 dead, there are over 9,000 diagnoses of this..just by contrast the SARS virus, over the course of an entire year, I believe had about 8,100 diagnoses. So this thing is spreading a lot faster than the SARS virus did. I’ve seen estimates that put the death rate for this around 2%. The problem is you don’t really know what the rates are because the Chinese government lies.”

That’s enough on the table for us to pause and compliment the Daily Wire fact checker. Indeed, a massive study published in JAMA found that the Coronavirus is more transmissible than SARS but far less deadly. The primary metric (though readers may obviously see the flaw) for calculating how ‘deadly’ a novel (or unique) virus is the virus’ case-fatality rate or CFR.

SARS had a CFR of 9.6% while MERS had a horrifying CFR of 34.4%. However whether someone days from the coronavirus is greatly influenced by factors such as their age, health and geographic location. The death rate among the elderly, is at least 49% and probably higher.

However, Shapiro continued that the biggest problem with this outbreak is that we: 

“Don’t actually know how it is crossing human to human. Is it liquid transmission like the way that Ebola is, for example? Or is it aerial transmission, which is a lot scarier, right? Like the flu, like you sneeze in a room and suddenly somebody could get it or you breathe on something and somebody can get it. That of course would be incredibly frightening. The fact is that we do have human to human transmission outside of China. This has happened in the United States when a person who came back from China gave it to her husband. Beyond that, we also know that the coronavirus is giving people secondary conditions. A lot of people apparently who are dying, are dying of various other conditions that are contingent upon the having of the coronavirus in the first place.

The biggest problem is of course that they are now reporting that you can get the coronavirus from somebody who’s asymptomatic, so somebody is walking around. They appear to be perfectly healthy but they are a carrier for the coronavirus. That makes it nearly impossible to stop the transmission. Because you can’t even quarantine people, you don’t know if they have it or if they don’t have it. So once it spreads it’s going to be very difficult to stop at this point. All of this is scary as hell obviously, but important to note again that in the United States, there were 3.7 million diagnoses of the flu just at the end of the year. And some 3,000 people died of the flu or conditions related to the flu just at the very end of last year. So we’re not anywhere near that scale at this point.”

Per the CDC (as of 2/26/2019), the disease can be spread through contact with infected surfaces or through person to person spreading. Note that the person-to-person spread of the disease is, as of right now, thought to be the primary way in which this disease is spread however does not require physical contact with the person infected. It is actually spread through  the coughing or sneezing of infected carriers that eject small droplets into an infected person’s mouth or nose. The amount of proximity one would need to be to get infected, would be about 6 feet (approximately) by someone who is infected.

Finally and important to note, while Shapiro is correct that the disease can spread while someone is asymptomatic, it is thought that people are most likely to spread the disease when they are suffering the most symptoms. 

As always, should we become aware that Ben has changed his opinion or should new evidence be submitted that we have either misconstrued his opinion or failed to include important statements from him, we will 1) make the correction, 2) note the correction here, 3) issue a mea culpa that attempts to explain and improve on how we missed this. 

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