More Americans died from Covid-19 than in the past 5 flu seasons

CAPE TOWN- The novel coronavirus and the seasonal flu have many similar symptoms and while some may confuse the two, experts have warned against misleading comparisons and that Covid-19 is more serious than the flu. 

According to figures from Johns Hopkins University, Covid-19 killed more than 210,700 people in the United States (US) in eight months, which translates to an average of more than 867 Covid-19 deaths a day since the first known death was recorded in the country on 6 February.

Figures from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that influenza killed an estimated 22,000 people in the US during the last flu season, which spanned between October and May. An average of 91 people died from the flu per day over the span of eight months, and in the same amount of time, Covid-19 has killed more people than the flu did during the last five flu seasons combined.

On Tuesday, Facebook and Twitter hid a post by US President Donald Trump that falsely claimed the flu is more deadly than Covid-19. The President claimed that the flu kills “sometimes over 100,000” people a year, in an effort to downplay how severe the illness really is.

Trump recently returned to the White House after spending three days in hospital after having tested positive for the virus.

Here’s why Covid-19 is more dangerous than the flu:

The coronavirus is more contagious than the seasonal flu

Seasonal influenza’s reproduction rate is 1.28, which means that for every 100 people who have the flu, the central tendency is for them to pass it on to approximately 128 more people. A person infected with Covid-19 infects an average of about 2 to 3 other people, if they do not adhere to social distancing and quarantine.

Asymptomatic infectiousness

Several studies have found that asymptomatic Covid-19 patients are as likely as those with symptoms to further the spread of the virus. The CDC estimates that 35% of cases are asymptomatic and that 40 percent of transmissions occur before people develop symptoms.

The Covid-19 vaccine is not yet available, while the flu vaccine is

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) there are more than 170 vaccines in development worldwide. At least 31 are in clinical trials and only a handful are nearing the final stage of testing. For the time-being, the best ways to control the spread  of Covid-19 is with personal responsibility, including washing your hands frequently, maintaining social distance and wearing a face mask.


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