Coronavirus fatality rate vs flu: How deadly is coronavirus compared to seasonal flu?

Coronavirus cases have exceeded 20,000 as of today, as infections explode out of China and into the rest of the world with deadly consequences. The disease reared its head during late 2019 and early 2020, which is flu season in several countries around the world.

How deadly is seasonal flu?

Seasonal flu refers to several strains of the disease influenza A, B, C and D.

Millions of people develop flu infections every year, most of which pass without incident after a few days to a week of symptoms.

However, thousands of people also die from influenza every year.


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According to Oxford university’s Vaccine Knowledge Project, an average of 600 people in the UK die from the flu per year.

The figures are subject to peaks and troughs, as the project noted deaths increased to 13,000 during 2008-2009.

In countries such as the US, the figure is more pronounced, as 10,000 people have died from the virus during the latest season, which started in late 2019.

Nevertheless, the disease comes with a low mortality rate of roughly 0.13 percent, and affects those most severely who are chronically unwell.

How deadly is coronavirus?

A coronavirus tracker developed by Johns Hopkins University found cases of 2019-nCoV now number 20,704.

Their dashboard revealed most cases – approximately 20,492 – were detected in mainland China.

Of those who contracted the infection, 427 have died, giving it a fatality rate of 2.07 percent.

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The fatality rate is nearly three percent higher in the city of Wuhan in Hubei province, where the virus originated, which has a rate of 4.9 percent.

Excepting cases in Hubei, the mortality rate drops down to 0.16 percent, bringing it much closer to the flu.

A separate tracker from revealed 701 people have recovered from the disease, assigning it a recovery rate of 3.39 percent.

The latest coronavirus is not the first to have caused global panic, as another member of the family, SARS, circulated the world from China in 2002-2003.

Compared to SARS, which had a mortality rate of 9.6 percent, 2019-nCoV is much less deadly.

China’s National Health Committee estimates the coronavirus fatality rate will likely drop in the future.

Jiao Yahui, deputy director of the NHC’s Medical Administration Bureau, said new treatments and medical resources would see more people recover.

Only two people have died from 2019-nCoV outside of China, one person in the Philippines and another in Hong Kong.

World health authorities’ continuing vigilance against coronavirus and their decision to quarantine patients will also keep the mortality rate down.

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