How is coronavirus different from the flu?
While there are some similarities between the symptoms of COVID-19 and the flu (most notably fever and dry cough) one of the biggest differences is that we know significantly less about COVID-19. But here is what we do know:
- COVID-19 is more infectious than the flu. The “basic reproduction number,” or R0, of an infection is the average number of people who catch it from a single infected person. The flu has an R0 value of 1.3, while the R0 value of COVID-19 is estimated to be much higher.
- Right now, COVID-19 seems more likely to kill than the flu. While the exact fatality rate of COVID-19 is not yet known, it appears to be much deadlier than the flu. Influenza has a mortality rate of 0.1 percent, and current estimates of COVID-19’s fatality rate range from 1.4 percent to 3.4 percent.
- There is currently no vaccine or treatment for COVID-19. Unlike seasonal flu, there is no widely available vaccine to protect against COVID-19 infection. Similarly, there are no antivirals to help to reduce symptoms and shorten the duration of the disease.
For more information on this ever-developing situation, consult the CDC’s page dedicated to COVID-19, found here.