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Coronavirus vs. flu

While everyone (most everyone) is in a panic about the coronavirus, there should be a comparison with the annual flu. Statements that coronavirus is worse than the flu are simply not true. The following is from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).While everyone is in a panic about the coronavirus (officially renamed COVID-19 by the World Health Organization), there’s an even deadlier virus many people are forgetting about: the flu.

Flu season is hitting its stride right now in the United States. So far, the CDC has estimated (based on weekly influenza surveillance data) that at least 12,000 people have died from influenza between Oct. 1, 2019, through Feb. 1, 2020.The CDC also estimates that up to 31 million Americans have caught the flu this season, with 210,000 to 370,000 flu sufferers hospitalized because of the virus.

“The current flu season has been difficult but it has not reached epidemic threshold,” infectious disease expert Amesh A. Adalja, MD, senior scholar at the John’s Hopkins Center for Health Security in Baltimore, said. “In the next couple of weeks, when more data is available, it will become clear just how severe the season was given that we had an initial dominance of influenza B and now dominance of influenza A H1N1.”

So how do these numbers compare to flu deaths in previous years? So far, it looks like the 2019-2020 death toll won’t be as high as it was in the 2017-2018 season, when 61,000 deaths were linked to the virus. However, it could equal or surpass the 2018-2019 season’s 34,200 flu-related deaths. Overall, the CDC estimates that 12,000 and 61,000 deaths annually since 2010 can be blamed on the flu. Globally, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that the flu kills 290,000 to 650,000 people per year.

The fact that people are more concerned about COVID-19 than the flu virus is no surprise, says Dr. Adalja. “Anytime there is a new emerging infectious disease that is shrouded in mystery with a lot of unknowns, it captivates people in a way that a regular virus that people deal with on a yearly basis won’t,” he says.

So, should we be concerned? I guess, to a degree. In my opinion, the news media is running with this story and has the nation in a panic. They do not state the facts from the CDC concerning the flu. Just my opinion.

GREG BANZHAF

Williamsport

Submitted via Virtual Newsroom

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