Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) has called on people to have some “perspective” while the nation deals with the COVID-19 pandemic, noting that “no more than 3.4 percent” of the infected population is in danger of dying from the virus, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports. “I’m not denying what a nasty disease COVID-19 can be, and how it’s obviously devastating to somewhere between 1 and 3.4 percent of the population,” he told the paper. “But that means 97 to 99 percent will get through this and develop immunities and will be able to move beyond this. But we don’t shut down our economy because tens of thousands of people die on the highways... We don’t shut down our economies because tens of thousands of people die from the common flu.” While Johnson recognized that the coronavirus had a higher fatality rate than the flu, he said getting the virus was “not a death sentence except for maybe no more than 3.4 percent of our population (and) I think probably far less.”
The senator said that while he wants people to take the virus seriously and does't think the U.S. is “overreacting,” he expressed concerns of the response “potentially going too far.” “But nobody knows what too far is, which is what’s so difficult about the situation,” he said.
Correction: The headline for the previous version of this article stated that Johnson believed 3.4 percent of the population could die. We regret the error.