When it comes to the flu, Fauci said at a news conference Friday, “there’s a certainty. I can tell you, ‘Guaranteed, that as we get into March and April, the flu cases are going to go down.’ You could predict pretty accurately what the range of the mortality is and the hospitalizations.”

But health officials don’t know how deadly this new virus is. And right now it does seem to be more of a killer than the flu.

“For flu one can roughly say that maybe 1 in 1,000 or less of infected people dies,” says Christian Althaus, a computational epidemiologist at the University of Bern, Switzerland. “But for this new coronavirus it could well be about 1 percent.”

In other words, a death rate that’s about ten times greater than the flu’s.