Influenza and COVID-19 are both respiratory illnesses with similar symptoms
(WKBN) – According to a report from Johns Hopkins Medicine, as of March 9, the flu is showing more of an impact on Americans than COVID-19.
Influenza and COVID-19 are both respiratory illnesses. The symptoms are similar but are caused by different viruses – influenza and coronavirus.
The Centers for Disease Control is updating the coronavirus outbreak daily on its website.
Similarities between COVID-19 and influenza: (Source: Johns Hopkins Medicine)
- Both cause fever, cough, body aches, fatigue; sometimes vomiting and diarrhea
- Can be mild or severe, even fatal in rare cases
- Can result in pneumonia
- Both can be spread from person to person through droplets in the air from an infected person coughing, sneezing or talking
- A possible difference: COVID-19 might be spread through the airborne route (see details below under Differences)
- Flu can be spread by an infected person for several days before their symptoms appear, and COVID-19 is believed to be spread in the same manner, but we don’t yet know for sure
- Neither virus is treatable with antibiotics, which only work on bacterial infections
- Both may be treated by addressing symptoms, such as reducing fever. Severe cases may require hospitalization and support such as mechanical ventilation
- Both may be prevented by frequent, thorough hand washing, coughing into the crook of your elbow, staying home when sick and limiting contact with people who are infected
- The differences between the viruses are more complex because there are still some things we don’t know about COVID-19
- Differences between the flu and COVID-19 include the following. (Source Johns Hopkins Medicine)
The differences between COVID-19 and flu is what many people want to know. Right now, doctors believe COVID-19 has a higher mortality rate, according to the Johns Hopkins report.
More differences include:
- COVID-19: Caused by one virus, the novel 2019 coronavirus, now called severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, or SARS-CoV-2
- Flu: Caused by any of several different types and strains of influenza viruses
- While both the flu and COVID-19 may be transmitted in similar ways (see the Similarities section above), there is also a possible difference: COVID-19 might be spread through the airborne route, meaning that tiny droplets remaining in the air could cause disease in others even after the ill person is no longer near
- COVID-19: Antiviral medications are currently being tested to see if they can address symptoms
- Flu: Antiviral medications can address symptoms and sometimes shorten the duration of the illness
- COVID-19: No vaccine is available at this time, though it is in progress
- Flu: A vaccine is available and effective to prevent some of the most dangerous types or to reduce the severity of the flu
- COVID-19: Approximately 115,997 cases worldwide; 761 cases in the U.S. as of Mar. 10, 2020
- Flu: Estimated 1 billion cases worldwide; 9.3 million to 45 million cases in the U.S. per year
- COVID-19: Approximately 4,087 deaths reported worldwide; 27 deaths in the U.S., as of Mar. 10, 2020
- Flu: 291,000 to 646,000 deaths worldwide; 12,000 to 61,000 deaths in the U.S. per year
A vaccine for COVID-19 may be months away. Many more cases are expected in the United States and worldwide.
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