We are in the for a few months novel coronavirus pandemic and on the threshold of Flu seasonwhich usually starts in October with a peak between December and February. Infectious disease experts warn that we are circulating simultaneously with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, and Influenza A and B, the viruses that cause the flu.
To date, the United States has more than 7 million confirmed cases and more than 200,000 deaths from the novel coronavirus. Although total COVID-19 cases and deaths have fallen In the past few weeks we’ve still been making diagnoses 43,1
While you may be tempted to fight off the flu threat since it comes along every year and we are in some ways used to it, the flu is by no means the “weak sister” of COVID-19, says William Schaffner, MD, Medical Director of the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases and Professor of Infectious Diseases at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that the flu affects tens of millions of Americans each year, hospitalizing 140,000 to 810,000 and killing 12,000 to 61,000.
Both COVID-19 and the flu are highly contagious respiratory diseases that can cause mild to severe illness with many common symptoms including fever, cough, sore throat, muscle pain, and fatigue.
So, if you have the chance to detect one or both of these viruses, it’s understandable if you just have to wonder: Which is worse: COVID-19 or the flu? Read on for the answer with insights from infectious disease experts.
Is COVID-19 Worse Than The Flu?
“They’re both terrible, so trying to distinguish between the two is like trying to choose between a bad actor and a worse actor. But if I had to say which one is worse, I would have to say COVID-19, ”says Dr. Conductor.
Why? For starters, the novel coronavirus is completely new to us. We’re all prone to catching it, and there is no set treatment or treatment other than exploratory drugs vaccine still available. The flu virus, on the other hand, has been well studied and can be treated with antiviral drugs. An annual flu shot can reduce your risk of illness by 40 to 60%. Even if you get sick, you are less likely to need medical care, end up in the hospital, or die from the virus CDC.
Then there just is how easily the viruses spread consider. While both COVID-19 and the flu are mainly transmitted from person to person through respiratory droplets, when an infected person speaks, coughs or sneezes, it appears COVID-19 is more contagious and has also been linked to more “super-spreading” events.
Based on key severities such as hospital stays and death rates, COVID-19 is also more severe than seasonal flu in terms of its overall impact on the population Yvonne Michael, Sc.D., Associate Professor of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at Drexel University’s Dornsife School of Public Health in Philadelphia.
Last flu season, 66.4 out of 100,000 In the US, people have been hospitalized with the flu. Compare that to 174.8 out of 100,000 people who, according to the CDC, have so far been hospitalized due to COVID-19.
The case death rate (CFR), the proportion of deaths from an illness compared to the total number of people diagnosed with the illness, is around 0.1% for the flu and could be about 0.5% for COVID-19 – that is, its CFR is potential five times higher than the flu, according to an article dated May 2020 published in JAMA internal medicine.
However, it is important to note that much of this data is from various sources and preliminary estimates. Therefore, it is very difficult to make good comparisons between flu and COVID-19 right now, and estimates for COVID-19 will continue to evolve as we improve our testing and detection methods, ”notes Dr. Michael.
Both COVID-19 and the flu can hit you hard with complications like pneumonia, lung damage, and heart problems, especially if you are at increased risk due to old age, an underlying disease or pregnancy. Young children are at greater risk of developing serious flu illnesses as well as childhood multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C), a rare but serious complication of COVID-19. However, COVID-19 can cause additional complications, including blood clots, and “Long distance driver” can suffer from a variety of health problems weeks or months after their first illness. As with many COVID-19 things, doctors are only just beginning to understand why this is and how to treat patients.
Bottom line: while COVID-19 could be worse than the flu in some ways, you don’t want to catch either of them.
With the flu season approaching, it’s important that everyone aged six months and over gets their flu shot, experts agree. Not only does this protect you, but it also reduces the chances of someone else getting sick or putting further strain on the healthcare system that COVID-19 is already dealing with (you can use that Vaccine finder to find out where flu vaccines are available in your area).
With the novel coronavirus and flu spreading in similar ways, you can protect yourself from both by continuing to do what you did to prevent the spread of COVID-19:
- Practice social distancing by keeping a distance of at least two meters between you and anyone outside your household.
- Wear a Protective mask in the public.
- Wash or use your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds Hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol when you are out and about.
- Disinfect surfaces that are sensitive to touch often at your home.
- Cover your mouth when you sneeze or cough.
- Do not touch your eyes, nose, and mouth as much as you can.
- Postpone unnecessary trips, stay away from large gatherings, and talk to loved ones about alternative, virtual plans for upcoming holidays.
- Stay home and call a doctor if you develop symptoms of COVID-19 or the flu.
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