How does the common flu virus compare to the new coronavirus?

4th March 2020

Which is most contagious?

Data from china show that Covid-19 is more contagious that influenza.

According to the New York Times, a person infected with the Covid-19 virus appears to infect 2.2 people, on average, whereas for the seasonal flu it’s 1.3. But, again, the new coronavirus figure is skewed by the way in which the disease was handled in the beginning. As it comes under control, so will this figure subsequently drop.

For now, the flu still presents a greater danger, explains Professor Preiser:

“We should be more concerned about the flu [than we are] because every year, in South Africa alone, it kills more than 11 000 people, and much of that could be prevented if people had themselves vaccinated.

“Vaccinating against flu, especially this year, means that you will potentially be less of a burden to the healthcare system, and avoid being flagged as a possible coronavirus case.”

which is deadlier?

According to reports More than 3 000 people have died globally and over 88 000 have been infected with the Covid-19 virus.

In comparison to influenza (commonly known as the flu), the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that at least five million cases get reported annually and a death toll of about 290 000 to 650 000.

Who is most at risk from infection?

Data shows that the Covid-19 is striking men and older people the hardest.

According to experts, this is because older people have immune systems that wind down as they age and therefore become less effective, making them more prone to dangerous viral strains.

And having a chronic illness – like arthritis, diabetes and heart disease – means that the body is less able to cope with infection.

Also in China more than half of them smoke than 3% of women, if someone's lungs are affected by smoking then that certainly increases the risk from a virus.

Protecting yourself

Although there is currently no vaccine or “cure” for the new virus, there are preventative measures you can take to minimise your risk of contracting the virus:

  • Avoid coming into close contact with people who are ill.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water frequently and thoroughly.
  • Make it a habit to clean and disinfect furniture that is frequently touched.
  • Cover your face with a tissue or your elbow when coughing or sneezing.
  • Visit a doctor if you develop symptoms.

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