The new coronavirus outbreak has made headlines for the past several weeks, but not everyone is paying attention to another, possibly more serious, viral epidemic: the flu. People are overwhelmed by the nonstop news about the new coronavirus, COVID-19, worrying about “state of emergency” claims and other news scare tactics. What people are failing to acknowledge is that the flu may be a more serious health threat.
The flu comes around every year, and people have just accepted it as something that happens. People get flu shots, or they don’t, and they carry on with their lives. As of March 3rd, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) informed the public that the flu has had much more of an impact on Americans than the COVID-19. In the United States alone, the flu has caused about 32 million illnesses, 310,000 hospitalizations, and 18,000 deaths this season. The COVID-19 has led to more than 89,000 illnesses and 3,000 deaths worldwide.
People know about the flu, though, which makes it less scary, despite the fact that flu-related deaths are extremely high every flu season. It’s the same name with a new viral strain, whereas the coronavirus is new, scary, and unheard of, and has caused worldwide panic as a result. Scientists have heavily studied flu viruses and know what to expect, but they don’t know a lot about the COVID-19, so it is considered a wild card.
Similarities Of The Flu And COVID-19
- Both cause body aches, fatigue, cough, fever, and occasional vomiting or diarrhea.
- Both can be mild or severe, even fatal in rare cases.
- Can lead to pneumonia.
- Days before symptoms appear, it is possible for an infected person with the flu to spread the virus. It is believed that COVID-19 can spread in the same manner
- One difference may be that COVID-19 spreads through airborne route (see below under Differences).
- Both can spread from person to person through droplets in the air from infected coughs or sneezes.
- Because they are not bacterial infections, neither virus is treated with antibiotics.
- It may be possible to treat both by addressing the symptoms. Supplying the body with nutrients and helping to reduce fever may help recovery.
Differences Between The Flu And COVID-19
- The flu is caused by any number of influenza viral strains.
- COVID-19 is caused by the novel 2019 coronavirus, now called acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, or SARS-CoV-2.
- The primary difference is that COVID-19 can spread through the airborne route. While a person with the flu can cough or sneeze on someone and transmit it that way, a person with COVID-19 can sneeze or cough in a space and these droplets can remain in the air long after the infected person leaves, meaning that others in the area can contract it without realizing it.
- The flu has an estimated one billion cases worldwide, with an average of 9.3-45 million cases in the U.S. per year.
- The COVID-19 has approximately 92,818 cases worldwide, with 118 cases in the U.S. as of March 3rd, 2020.
- According to the CDC, flu-related deaths each year range from 291,000-646,000 worldwide, with about 12,000-61,000 deaths in the U.S. per year.
- The COVID-19 has caused 3,159 deaths worldwide, with seven deaths in the U.S. as of March 3rd, 2020.
The primary issue with COVID-19 is that there are a lot of unknown factors. Scientists are racing to discover more about COVID-19 with each passing day and the threats that it poses. Take precautions against both the COVID-19 and flu by regularly washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, and avoid touching your nose, eyes, or mouth with unwashed hands. Try to avoid close contact with people who are sick and stay home when you are sick. If you need more information about the COVID-19 and how to improve immunity, click here.