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Duterte repeats wrong once-in-a-century coronavirus claim


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For the second time, President Rodrigo Duterte has erroneously claimed that viruses like the novel coronavirus occur only once in a century.


In his fifth State of the Nation Address on July 27, Duterte said COVID-19 had caught nations unawares because, he stressed, the virus that causes it (SARS-CoV-2) happens once every hundred years.


He said:

No nation on earth was really prepared for COVID. No amount of preparation because that kind of microbes visits about once every 100 years. …

The president first made this flawed claim in his June 30 late-night televised public address, saying, “That pandemic, it comes about once in a century.”


FactRakers fact-checked Duterte’s June 30 statement and a similar claim made by his acting economic planning secretary, Karl Kendrick Chua. (Read: Duterte mistakes pandemics as ‘once in a century’ occurrences. Also read: Coronavirus pandemic is not a ‘once-in-a-century problem’)


Seven pandemics have occurred in the last century, including two in the 21st century.


Before the COVID-19 pandemic caused by SARS-CoV-2, there were four influenza or flu pandemics: the 1918-20 Spanish flu transmitted by the H1N1 virus, 1957-58 Asian flu (H2N2), 1968-69 Hong Kong flu (H3N2) and the 2009-10 swine flu (H1N1pdm09).


The other pandemics are the HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) epidemic that started in 1981 and reached pandemic proportions years ago, and the “longest running” pandemic since 1961: cholera.


References


5th State of the Nation Address of Rodrigo Roa Duterte President of the Philippines to the Congress of the Philippines. (2020, July 27). Retrieved from https://pcoo.gov.ph/presidential-speech/5th-state-of-the-nation-address-of-rodrigo-roa-duterte-president-of-the-philippines-to-the-congress-of-the-philippines/


FactRakers. (2020, April 24). Coronavirus pandemic is not a ‘once-in-a-century problem.’ Retrieved from https://www.factrakers.org/post/coronavirus-pandemic-is-not-a-once-in-a-century-problem


FactRakers. (2020, July 1). Duterte mistakes pandemics as ‘once in a century’ occurrences. Retrieved from https://www.factrakers.org/post/duterte-mistakes-pandemics-as-once-in-a-century-occurrences


Talk to the people of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). (2020, June 30). Retrieved from https://pcoo.gov.ph/presidential-speech/talk-to-the-people-of-president-rodrigo-roa-duterte-on-coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19-12/

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