Myth #3: The coronavirus is just as deadly as the flu

April 18, 2020

Fact: While both COVID-19 and the seasonal flu share symptoms such as fever, cough and aches, COVID-19 is much more serious for a number of reasons.

While estimates vary widely, COVID-19’s mortality rate is predicted to be between 1 percent to 4 percent overall. The flu’s mortality rate varies from year to year with different strains, but is significantly lower at around 0.1 percent

Not only is the novel coronavirus’s mortality rate at least ten times greater, but people are also much more likely to get COVID-19 than the flu. The C.D.C. estimates that about 8 percent of the U.S. population gets sick with the flu every year. According to predictions from the C.D.C., between 160 million and 214 million people in the United States could be infected with COVID-19—that’s 48 to 65 percent of the population.

Perhaps most importantly, we are not prepared for COVID-19. We know a lot about the flu and have a vaccine for it, but it will take at least a year—if not longer—to develop a treatment for the coronavirus.

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