In the new year, there has been quite a scare about the Corona Virus (now named COVID-19, and for the remainder of the article we will refer to it as the COVID Virus). But the questions lots of people are asking is how does it compare to the Influenza (which for the sake of my fingers we will call the flue.) First, let’s start with the flu. For the flu, we will use the 2018-2019 numbers. In 2018 an estimated 16.5 million illnesses alone, shocking 33,000 deaths so far. This is all according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Once again according to the CDC flu symptoms can include a fever, a cough, a sore throat, a runny or stuffy nose, muscle/body aches, headaches and fatigue (extreme tiredness). Now let’s talk about how the flu spreads, people with the flu can spread it to others up to 6 feet away. Experts believe the flu is spread by tiny droplets made when people cough, sneeze or talk while they have the flu. These droplets can land on the skin or in the noses or mouths of people who are nearby, they could possibly also be inhaled into the lungs. Less often, someone might get the flu by touching a surface where the flu virus has been on. People who have the flu are in their most contagious state during their first few days having the virus. Children or people with weaker immune systems can be contagious for longer periods of time. The flu can be contagious before symptoms kick in, symptoms on average begin around 2 days after the virus enters the body. The virus is still contagious in that ‘no symptoms’ stage.
Now let’s talk about the ever-so-feared COVID virus. The symptoms of the COVID virus range from mild fevers to severe illness and hospitalization. The main few symptoms are fever, coughing, and lack of breath. According to Gisan data’s live map, there have been 82,550 confirmed cases of the COVID virus. There have been 2,810 deaths. But one factor that is commonly overlooked is that 33,252 of the cases have recovered. This means that around ~40% of the confirmed cases have recovered, but also only ~3% of the people who have got it have died. If we compare the ~3% death rate of the COVID virus to the ~.4% death rate of the flu. However, these numbers do have a very big difference in the number of recorded cases. This means that the COVID virus is technically more lethal. But considering fewer people overall have got it. Now into how the COVID virus spreads, the virus spreads in largely the same way of the flu. It spreads by little droplets created when the person sneezes or coughs.
So now I’m here to answer the question: should you really be afraid of the COVID virus? The answer: yes and no. See, the thing is scientists don't know how hugely widespread the virus will go. Also considering that the virus is new, we don't know what kind of mutations could come off of it. But going back to the number only around 3% of the people with the COVID virus die. The COVID virus and the flu are two similar yet different sicknesses. They both spread the same way and have similar symptoms. But really from what we have seen the flu is worse. It has many more cases of it being fatal. But the COVID virus shouldn’t be overlooked. The virus is new so we don't know what will come from it weather it will mutate or just die down in a few months, only time will tell.
Story by Aidan McCloud