The coronavirus death rate in the US is almost 50 times higher than that of the flu. See how they compare by age bracket.
Nurses are emotionally overwhelmed during a candlelight memorial and candlelight vigil for Hollywood Presbyterian nurse Celia Marcos, who died on May 6, 2020 in Los Angeles, California, two days after a positive coronavirus test.
Keith Birmingham / MediaNews Group / Pasadena Star-News on Getty Images
Although flu and coronavirus have some overlapping symptoms, the coronavirus mortality rate is far higher in the United States.
In the United States, the flu mortality rate averages 0.1%, while the coronavirus mortality rate is 5.2%.
Both viruses are the deadliest for the elderly. The flu kills 0.83% of those infected over 65 years of age, while the coronavirus mortality rate is 10.4% in those aged 65 to 74 years old, 20.8% in the 75-84 group and those over 85 years old Is 30.1%.
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Although some symptoms of the flu and coronavirus overlap, comparing the mortality rates of the two shows how much worse the coronavirus is.
While according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 0.1% of people with flu died last year in the United States, the coronavirus mortality rate is currently around 5.2% based on the total number of cases and deaths reported. This means that the average coronavirus mortality rate is 52 times higher than that of the flu.
Mortality rates for both the flu and coronavirus vary widely between age groups, and both appear to be the most lethal in people over 65.
The following table shows how they are compared.
Covid 19 mortality rate by age chart
Ruobing Su / Business Insider
Worldwide coronavirus cases have exceeded 9.1 million and more than 472,000 people have died. So no, this new disease is not "just another flu".
The flu infects millions of people every year and kills thousands
The number of people killed by influenza each year is not reported as the number of COVID-19 deaths - a discrepancy that can lead to confusion when comparing the numbers.
The CDC estimates the total number of flu infections in the United States through its influenza surveillance system, which collects data from state and local partners and projects total numbers across the country using infectious disease models.
The estimates are designed to take into account flu deaths that occur outside of hospitals and other circumstances in which a person dies without receiving a flu test. For this reason, total values can be up to two years behind, as CDC researchers need a while to collect flu data and review death certificates.
During the 2018-19 flu season, approximately 35 million people contracted the flu in the U.S. and, according to the CDC, approximately 34,000 died. This season, about one in 1,000 people died of the flu.
Breaking down the numbers by age group shows a more complex story. About 10,000 deaths occurred among children in children. In adults between 50 and 64 years, about six out of 10,000 flu patients died. For those over 65, the rate rose to around 83 out of 10,000 people.
The mortality rate of the flu varies depending on the strains circulating annually. The flu virus quickly mutates, causing people to catch different strains, which is why the vaccine is not 100% effective and new vaccines are needed every year.
Over 30% of US coronavirus patients over the age of 85 have died
Dr. Gabrielle Beger takes a nasal swab sample from Lawrence McGee as she tests for coronavirus on April 17, 2020 at Queen Anne Healthcare, a nursing and rehabilitation facility in Seattle, Washington.
AP Photo / Ted S. Warren
Because of the novelty of the coronavirus, the death rate from the disease is calculated by dividing the number of confirmed COVID-19 deaths by the total number of confirmed cases. The figures in the table above are from the latest CDC June report.
In the U.S., the coronavirus has infected more than 2.3 million people since the first case was reported on January 22. However, this case total is likely to underestimate the true extent of the outbreak, since only those who have been tested are included.
Preliminary data on excessive deaths and front-line observations from funeral directors and emergency services in New York City suggest that the United States is also counting the deaths from the virus.
The coronavirus mortality rate is constantly changing, and many health professionals have predicted that mortality rates may decrease if milder and more asymptomatic cases are tested and confirmed.
However, one trend that is unlikely to change with more robust tests is the extent to which the coronavirus is particularly fatal to the elderly and those with pre-existing health problems. Because the virus spreads primarily through droplets when people are in close contact and is most lethal for people over 80, nursing homes have become dangerous breeding grounds.
Prevent the spread of flu and coronavirus
The flu and coronavirus spread in the same way: through virus particles that move in tiny droplets of saliva or mucus between people. If a sick person sneezes, coughs, or speaks loudly within 5 feet of a healthy person, the particles can land on the healthy person. If the particles get into the person's eyes, nose, or mouth, the person can become infected.
An average coronavirus patient infects two to 2.5 others. This also makes COVID-19 more contagious than seasonal flu.
However, social distancing limits the risk of infection, as well as washing your hands properly and avoiding touching your face. A growing body of research also shows that masks can significantly prevent the transmission of coronaviruses.
Correction: An earlier version of the table in this story showed incorrect COVID-19 mortality rates for three age groups. The bug has been fixed.
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