I don’t know who Rabbi Doctor Smith is but I have a lot of kushyos on what you claim he said. I don’t believe he’s singing the same tune these days now that we know more about COVID-19.
For one, it’s not the death rate that’s the issue (although it is a huge issue), it’s the infection rate. On Rosh Hashanna an infected bachur walked into a Yeshiva of 300 talmidim. By Yom Kippur, nearly 3/4 of the talmidim were testing positive and several Rebbeim were hospitalized. So saying “only” one out of 1000 die is incredibly dishonest considering that it’s very easy for 1000 people to catch the virus.