Comparing the Flu with the New Coronavirus [COVID-19]

Comparing the flu with the new coronavirus


Many people are comparing the flu with the new coronavirus [COVID-19]. Here’s a list of 5 similarities and 5 differences to give you more clarity into the current situation.


Similarities between the Flu and the new Coronavirus


  1. Common symptoms of the flu and the new coronavirus include fever, cough, body aches, and fatigue.
  2. Both diseases can cause pneumonia.
  3. Both viruses can be mild or severe and can result in death.
  4. Both viruses can be transmitted via droplets from the coughing, sneezing, or talking of an infected individual. These droplets land on a surface that another person can touch and then pass the germ onto themselves or somebody else.
  5. Antibiotics are not effective in treating either virus. Antibiotics can only treat infections.


Differences between the Flu and the new Coronavirus


  1. There is a vaccine for the flu virus which can reduce the severity of the flu and can prevent the most severe strains. There is no vaccine yet available to prevent the coronavirus.
  2. There are 92,818 cases worldwide of The Coronavirus (as of March 3rd, 2020) as opposed to an estimated 1 billion cases worldwide of the flu.
  3. While it remains unclear at this time, the coronavirus may be transmitted through airborne germs as well as via surface droplets.
  4. The flu is caused by several different strains of influenza viruses. COVID-19 is caused by one virus, the novel 2019 coronavirus or severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 or SARS-CoV-2.
  5. While much is known about the flu, the new coronavirus remains a wildcard.  For example — will the new coronavirus disappear around April like the flu or will it continue throughout the summer?

Despite the unknowns, the following prevention tips are recommended:

  • To prevent the spread, it’s important to wash your hands frequently and thoroughly, cough into the crook of your arm, and stay away from sick people.
  • Practice travel precautions by following updates from the CDC, WHO, and other national and international organizations.
  • If you do get infected, remain at home to prevent the illness from spreading.

Flue season should end by April or May. Scientists are waiting to see if the new coronavirus will die down at that time as well, giving the world a break and more time to analyze the data and to better understand the disease.

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