Opinion

Coronavirus vs. Flu

default article imageNews of the coronavirus outbreak has been captivating media outlets around the world as of late January and it is hard not to stay informed about the deadly illness. The coronavirus is a type of virus that has a bunch of different strains, some of which cause diseases. The virus causing the worldwide pandemic is COVID-19, and its symptoms can look very similar to the flu. According to John Hopkins Medicine, both of these viruses cause a fever, cough, body aches, fatigue, and sometimes vomiting and diarrhea. Symptoms can range mild or severe, and sometimes fatal. Lastly, both have the potential to result in pneumonia.

The coronavirus, along with the flu, is mainly spread from person to person. This usually happens when someone with the virus coughs or sneezes, and you breathe it in. In most cases, you need to be close to the person for it to spread this way. It might be possible to contract these illnesses by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching your own mouth, nose, or possibly your eyes.

Although it is easy to compare the two illnesses due to their similar symptoms, the coronavirus is much worse than the flu. With COVID-19, most people do not realize they are sick and are possibly contagious for up to two weeks. You can also show no symptoms and still be contagious, therefore, spreading the virus to susceptible people.

The CDC disclosed that while the flu can kill nearly 60,000 Americans in a year, the flu’s fatality rate is still just 0.1 percent. They also found that COVID-19’s fatality rate by some estimates is 10 times that, especially for older people. Anyone over the age of 65, children under 5 years old, and those with chronic medical conditions are at a higher risk for these complications.                                              

As of April 2, 2020, the CDC reported that the new strain of the coronavirus has contributed to more than 1,007,657 illnesses and more than 52,607 deaths worldwide. The main difference is that COVID-19 spreads rapidly and has a much higher death rate than the flu. With that being said, scientists have been studying the flu for decades and have an idea of what to expect each season. Being that the coronavirus is particularly new, very little is known about this virus and the disease that it causes. Scientists have not had ample time to study this specific strain, thus making it unpredictable when considering how long the US will remain quarantined.                                    

In contrast to the seasonal flu, there is no vaccine to prevent the coronavirus. The CDC recommends to steer clear of both of these illnesses is to take everyday precautions including, washing your hands for at least 20 seconds, avoid any touching of the face, and staying home to prevent spreading infections.       

Considering all of this information, COVID-19 is a newborn strain of the coronavirus and is very different from the flu. I believe that the coronavirus is a lot more dangerous than the flu and is more contagious. This virus is a much bigger risk than the flu due to the fact that it can turn deadly very quickly without proper prevention.

In my opinion, the U.S should place a lot more fear on the coronavirus over the flu. The flu is an illness that has been around for years and doctors know how to treat it effectively and rapidly. Contrastly, the coronavirus is new and there is much unknown about it. Some of the only things we do know are that it spreads quickly and has the ability to take the lives of people with compromised immune systems. Due to the rapid spread, high contagiousness, and a significant death rate, the United States should fear the coronavirus.

PHOTO COURTESY of Monmouth University