SYSTEM OF A DOWN bassist Shavo Odadjian has dismissed the growing panic surrounding the coronavirus, calling it "the stupidest thing."
During an appearance on the latest episode of "The Jasta Show" podcast, which was uploaded on March 15 but apparently recorded at least a week earlier, Odadjian expressed skepticism about the threat posed by the coronavirus outbreak, calling it "just a regular cold" with a death rate that is lower than that from seasonal flu.
Shavo said (hear audio below): "I think it's the stupidest thing… I think it's lame. It's just a regular cold, bro, at this point.
"I saw a doctor yesterday for just a checkup," he continued. "He owns the floor; it's his. Anyway, he was telling me how he was upset at how media's only focusing on one thing, and that's putting fear in you, which is what's going on — it's like control by fear. But he's, like, the actual virus has actually diminished in power and strength since it started with all the deaths that have been happening. He's, like, we have 50 times more people contaminated with it, but we have 30 times less deaths. Where before there was a certain amount that got contaminated and this many died from it — like maybe 20 percent, 10 percent. And now it's, like, 0.01 percent, and it's mostly people in convalescent homes in their 80s and 90s, or people that have weak immune systems. It's people that would die from the flu or anything else that would happen, which happens, like, 27,000 to 57,000 a year in America alone — people die from the flu and no one talks about it… I've been doing research, 'cause I'm, like, 'Dude, why are these important things getting canceled, like South By Southwest [festival of music, technology and film in Austin, Texas], just for a cold?'
"I know it's scary — it's scary to have this new thing, but every two years we have something new, man," the bassist added. "We went from Zika to the fucking swine flu to SARS to Ebola, back to this, back to that... And it's, like, every time they don't have something, they're gonna bring something else back and say, 'Oh, remember this? Wasn't it scary? Well, it's back. We have two new cases.' Ooh, the world panics, bro..."
The fatality rate of the new coronavirus is believed to about 1 percent. "It's about ten times more lethal than the seasonal flu," Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institutes Of Allergy And Infectious Disease, said in congressional testimony on March 11.
So far, COVID-19 has killed around 12,700 people worldwide and around 285 in the U.S.
U.S. officials have repeatedly urged Americans to heed what federal, state and local officials are asking of them in order to curtail the spread and dampen the impact of the virus on the population.
California recently estimated that more than half of the state — 25.5 million people — will get the new coronavirus over the next eight weeks.
The Centers For Disease Control And Prevention (CDC) put its worst-case scenario at 1.7 million COVID-19 deaths in America.