Siegel was asked by host Jillian Mele about the death rate from the COVID-19 virus being estimated at 1.4 percent, compared to 0.1 percent from the flu. While saying that he agrees that coronavirus is more contagious, he doubted that the fatality rate is truly as high as was being reported in the New England Journal of Medicine.
“Because there’s probably … many people who have had mild cases or even cases with no symptoms at all that we didn’t know about. In China and around the world and even here. The more mild cases we see, the lower that means the death rate is. But it’s concerning still,” he said, adding that Americans must take precautions while a rapid test to quickly identify patients stricken with the virus is developed.
He said such a test should be available for medical professionals within a few weeks and it’s “absolutely” unclear at this point whether the virus will dissipate as the weather turns warmer.
Meantime, the U.S. surgeon general has emphasized that Americans worried about the coronavirus outbreak shouldn’t buy face masks to protect themselves against it because the masks are ineffective for those without symptoms — and the purchases deplete the supplies available for medical professionals.
“Seriously people- STOP BUYING MASKS!” Dr. Jerome M. Adams wrote on Twitter, addressing fears over the spread of the virus in the U.S.
“They are NOT effective in preventing general public from catching #Coronavirus, but if healthcare providers can’t get them to care for sick patients, it puts them and our communities at risk!”
Adams was referring to the recent spike in sales of face masks, including N95 respirator masks, that has led to price gouging and potential shortages.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says masks should be worn only by medical professionals and those with the virus, adding the best way to stay healthy is to wash your hands and avoid touching your eyes and mouth.
Fox News’ Brie Stimson contributed to this report.