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You are Three Times More Likely to Die of Covid-19 than Flu

Every year, thousands of people suffer from seasonal flu, experiencing coughing, sneezing, congestion, and fatigue for days. This flu season starts in fall and ends when spring starts. The severity of flu symptoms is different in every person but thousands of people lose their lives trying to recover from the flu. However, this number of deaths by flu is much less than deaths caused by Covid-19, according to a new study.

This study has estimated the risk of death by Covid-19 to be nearly 3.5 times higher than deaths by flu alone. The complete study findings are published in the journal CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

After spending one whole year in a pandemic, the death reports suggest it is thrice more likely to kill its patient as compared to a flu patient. although both of these appear to be similar infections they are different in terms of virulence and severity of infections.

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Most Covid-19 patients who were hospitalized were at a high risk of death, using a ventilator and a longer hospital stay as compared to other patients who reach out to the hospital for flu complications.

It is easy to predict that Covid-19 is much complicated and severe as compared to seasonal flu. These findings are more or less the same in all parts of the world, including the US, and France.

The research team analyzed the number of hospitalizations linked with flu complications during November 2019 and June 2020. The data was collected from the seven biggest hospitals in Canada were Toronto and Mississauga. These two areas bear the largest population as well as the high incidence of Covid-19 cases.

This data included every patient’s record who reached to intensive care unit (ICU) or required medical services either for flu or Covid-19. A total number of 783 admissions were reported for flu and 1027 hospitalizations caused by Covid-19. Patients who were reported with Covid-19 had no other noticeable health issues and 21% of them were less than 50 years age.

It is a common perception that Covid-19 only targets older men but it is not true completely. But Covid-19 symptoms are much more intense in older people and if they have any underlying condition, the risk of death also increases for this age group.

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Considering the same in this study, people over 75 years of age, who reached out to the hospital, approximately 40% of them lost their lives. But the complications of Covid-19 are also common in adults. During the first wave of coronavirus, nearly 20% of people admitted to hospitals were below 50 years of age.

Covid-19 patients were also more likely to use the intensive care unit of a hospital and had a higher risk of using a ventilator. Their stay at the hospital was also more than flu patients.

Researchers believe that the human body to both these viruses differently because of the difference in immunity. They are more prone to fight against the flu virus, mainly because of the previous occurrence, at some point in their life and with vaccination shots. There are good chances that bodies will also develop immunity against coronavirus meanwhile more treatments that are currently under development will be available. Together, all of this would help to bring the Covid-19 severity and death toll down.

Areeba Hussain

The author is a fulltime medical and healthcare writer. She graduated in Medical Microbiology and Immunology with distinction. Her areas of prime interest are medicine, medical technology, disease awareness, and research analysis. Twitter @Areeba94789300

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