Is coronavirus just like the seasonal flu? The symptoms of these two illnesses could be seen as similar: they both start with a cough and fever, shortness of breath, some aches and pains in the body, sore throat, and diarrhea for some patients.
However, according to Dr. Schneider, an expert in internal medicine in Raleigh, coronavirus is definitely not like the flu, because of its current death toll at two percent, and it’s still rising. While doctors are aware that seasonal flu kills thousands of patients every year, the COVID-19 death rate is 20 times higher than that from seasonal flu.
So, how are seasonal flu and coronavirus different? Here are a few indications below:
1. Incubation period
The flu’s incubation period is averagely from one to 4 days after exposure. The coronavirus’ incubation period is longer at one to 14 days. This is why doctors advise those who manifest symptoms to stay in isolation or quarantine for two weeks. Some recent studies, however, put the average incubation period for coronavirus at five days, according to Harvard Health.
2. Hospitalization rate
Only two percent of patients who get sick with the flu require hospitalization. On the other hand, so far, nearly 20 percent of patients who have coronavirus need inpatient care. The good news, however, is that 80 percent of patients who contract the virus have only mild symptoms, per the World Health Organization.
3. Rate of infection
With flu, an average of one person can be infected by one individual who is a virus carrier. With coronavirus, the rate of infection can be many times greater. This is why coronavirus is spreading at an alarming rate all over the world. It’s also why health experts are asking the public to practice social distancing or self-isolate.
Experts said that the biggest difference and danger of the coronavirus versus seasonal flu is the possibility that health systems could be overwhelmed as the rate of infection increases. Since there is still no vaccine for COVID-19 compared to the seasonal flu, experts are still grappling with how to manage the increasing number of cases and their implications for public health.
Those who are most vulnerable to the coronavirus are the elderly population and those with pre-existing medical conditions. An expert in epidemics forecasted that 20 to 60 percent of older adults around the world could be infected if the spread continues.
At the time of writing, over 43,500 COVID-19 deaths have been recorded worldwide from nearly 900,000 confirmed cases and the numbers are still increasing. Therefore, the general public is strongly advised to practice social distancing and hand washing and to refrain from going outdoors unless absolutely necessary.
Learn more about Schneider Medical Group – Internal Medicine, Raleigh
If you have questions about COVID-19, don’t hesitate to contact our experts in internal medicine. If you’re experiencing the signs and symptoms mentioned in this article, follow your state’s guidelines or contact us for proper guidance before coming in for a check-up.
Dr. Schneider is an expert internist who has extensive experience and knowledge in treating various medical diseases. If you need the expertise of an internist or a thyroid doctor in Raleigh, request an appointment or call us at 919-301-8971. We are more than happy to assist you.
The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.