You might have heard two things from people you know and those online regarding the coronavirus versus the flu. Firstly, “But, the flu kills more people per year?” And secondly, “Ah, don’t worry, it’s just like getting the flu only sometimes slightly worse!” If you’ve seen people tweet and share similar stuff, it’s important to know that’s a pretty big problem. While they are similar in many ways, the coronavirus is worse for your health than the flu.
We’re several months into this pandemic, and some countries are only just starting to lift lockdown rules. There are also fears of a second wave in China.
Among the underlying things that the coronavirus has brought to the world are fear and confusion. From the very beginning, people have been confused about why this virus is apparently so deadly.
People quote mortality rates as not being overly dissimilar to the flu, the symptoms don’t seem too bad, and lots of famous people seem to get it and recover in a week. So, how is it really that different? Is it even that much worse for our health?
The short answer is that they are similar but very different. Hopefully, the following points will articulate why the coronavirus is worse than the seasonal flu.
A higher transmission rate
Some people will argue, “Why we don’t go into lockdown every winter, seeing as we could save thousands of flu deaths.” Well, one main reason why that’s not happening is that the flu doesn’t spread as quickly as the coronavirus.
It’s believed every person with the flu can transmit it to around 1.3 people. By comparison, every person with coronavirus transmits it to between two and three people.
While that might not sound like a big difference at first, it means that coronavirus can infect almost three times as many people. Therefore, it spreads very quickly and can infect more people.
A lack of research
A huge issue with the coronavirus is the lack of research compared to the flu – especially when it first broke out. Nowadays, you can find more research, but it’s still in the early stages.
There’s an article on Oncotarget that provides a list of free-to-read reports that might interest anyone looking to do some coronavirus research. Regardless, it’s always harder to deal with the unknown, compared to handling something you know about.
We know a lot more about the flu, so we can treat it and stop it from being a massive problem. Coronavirus is new, which makes it more dangerous until we learn more.
COVID 19 is the worst disease process I’ve ever worked with in my 8 years as an ICU nurse.
When they say “recovered” they don’t tell you that that means you may need a lung transplant. Or that you may come back after d/c with a massive heart attack or stroke bc COVID makes
— Cherie Antoinette (@sheriantoinette) June 14, 2020
Another reason why the coronavirus is worse: Long-lasting symptoms
Most medical professionals will say that patients with moderate cases of coronavirus end up with long-lasting problems that affect their health. The tweet above is a great example of that.
There are long-lasting health problems caused by this virus. With the flu, a person typically recovers after a week and your body is back to normal.
Lastly, there’s no vaccine for coronavirus. The flu has a vaccine that people can take, protecting those who are the most vulnerable. Until we get a proper vaccine, the coronavirus will always present as a bigger risk to our health.
Final words on why the coronavirus is worse than the flu
The next time someone says “it’s just like the flu,” can kindly tell them that the coronavirus is worse, much worse. Sadly, we’re in the midst of a serious pandemic.
Still, success stories – like New Zealand returning back to normal – can give us all hope that the end is near. There are also valuable lessons to teach your kids about COVID-19 to build their resilience and help them prepare for the future.