Coronavirus fatality rate vs flu: How deadly is coronavirus compared to seasonal flu?

Coronavirus fatality rate vs flu: How deadly is coronavirus compared to seasonal flu?


Coronavirus has swept the globe like wildfire in 2020, causing millions of cases and hundreds of thousands of deaths as one of the deadliest public health disasters in history. COVID-19 has emerged as the rest of the planet tackles a host of other diseases, many of which have similar symptoms to the deadly virus.

How deadly is seasonal flu?

Seasonal flu refers to several strains of the disease influenza A, B, C and D.

Millions of people develop flu infections every year, most of which pass without incident after a few days to a week of symptoms.

However, thousands of people also die from influenza every year.


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According to Oxford university’s Vaccine Knowledge Project, an average of 600 people in the UK die from the flu per year.

The figures are subject to peaks and troughs, as the project noted deaths increased to 13,000 during 2008-2009.

In countries such as the US, the figure is more pronounced, as 10,000 people have died from the virus during the latest season, which started in late 2019.

Nevertheless, the disease comes with a low mortality rate of roughly 0.13 percent, and affects those most severely who are chronically unwell.

How deadly is coronavirus?

A coronavirus tracker developed by Johns Hopkins University found cases of COVID-19 now number nearly two million.

Their dashboard revealed most cases – approximately 582,594 – were detected in the US.

Of those who contracted the infection, 119,730 have died.

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The fatality rate was nearly three percent higher in the city of Wuhan in Hubei province, where the virus originated, which had a rate of 4.9 percent before its epidemic subsided.

Excepting cases in Hubei, the mortality rate dropped down to 0.16 percent, bringing it much closer to the flu.

A separate tracker from revealed 436,200 people have recovered from the disease.

The latest coronavirus is not the first to have caused global panic, as another member of the family, SARS, circulated the world from China in 2002-2003.

Compared to SARS, which had a mortality rate of 9.6 percent, COVID-19 is much less deadly.

China’s National Health Committee estimated new treatments would be vital to reducing the overall coronavirus fatality rate. 

Speaking earlier this year, Jiao Yahui, deputy director of the NHC’s Medical Administration Bureau, said new treatments and medical resources would see more people recover.

Authorities are currently working on a new vaccine, which the WHO believes may be the “only” way to conclusively prevent the disease spreading. 

Until then, most countries will remain entombed in lockdown measures. 

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