THE PAVILIONS PHUKET BRITISH INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL, PHUKET
THE PAVILIONS PHUKET BRITISH INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL, PHUKET Kata Rocks
The Phuket News Novosti Phuket Khao Phuket

Login | Create Account | Search


No, coronavirus isn’t the same as the flu

Aches and pains, sore throat, fever – although they may feel similar to those suffering from their symptoms, the novel coronavirus is not the same as the seasonal flu, experts have stressed.

HealthCOVID-19Coronavirus
By AFP

Saturday 14 March 2020, 11:30AM


The true danger of coronavirus is unlikely to be the death toll, as experts say health systems could easily become overwhelmed by the number of cases requiring hospitalisation. Photo: AFP

The true danger of coronavirus is unlikely to be the death toll, as experts say health systems could easily become overwhelmed by the number of cases requiring hospitalisation. Photo: AFP

Mortality

COVID-19, the illness caused by coronavirus, proves deadly in around 3.5% of confirmed cases.

While this is not the same as its mortality rate, given many people may be infected but not realise it, it is significantly higher than seasonal flu, which typically kills 0.1% of patients.

“There is still considerable uncertainty around the fatality rates of COVID-19 and it likely varies depending on the quality of local healthcare,” said Francois Balloux, Professor of Computational Systems Biology at University College London.

“That said, it is around 2% on average, which is about 20 times higher than for the seasonal flu lineages currently in circulation.”

Serious cases

But the true danger of coronavirus is unlikely to be the death toll. Experts say health systems could easily become overwhelmed by the number of cases requiring hospitalisation – and, often ventilation to support breathing.

An analysis of 45,000 confirmed cases in China, where the epidemic originated, show that the vast majority of deaths were among the elderly (14.8% mortality among over 80s).

But another Chinese study showed that 41% of serious cases occurred among under 50s, compared with 27% among over 65s.

“It’s true that if you’re older you’re at greater risk, but serious cases can also happen in relatively young people with no prior conditions,” said French deputy health minister Jerome Salomon.

 

Contagiousness

Disease experts estimate that each COVID-19 sufferer infects between two to three others.

Thanyapura Health 360

That’s a reproduction rate up to twice as high as seasonal flu, which typically infects 1.3 new people for each patient.

Vaccine / treatment

Salomon said that humans have lived with influenza for more than 100 years.

“We’ve studied it closely,” he said. “This new virus resembles the flu in terms of physical symptoms but there are huge differences.”

Number one is the lack of a vaccine against COVID-19, or even any treatment shown to be consistently effective.

While some trials have shown promise delivering anti-retroviral drugs to serious cases, as well as some experimental therapies, their sample sizes are too small to roll out to the general population.

Hundreds of researchers around the world are working frantically to find a COVID-19 vaccine, but the development process takes months and is likely too late for the current outbreak.

Even if a vaccine magically appeared, getting everyone access it to it is no small order. Health authorities regularly complain that not enough people receive the flu vaccine to guarantee “herd immunity”.

Similarities

But the new virus does share some characteristics with flu, notably the measures each one of us can personally take to slow the infection rate: Avoid shaking hands, frequently wash your hands with soap and water, avoid touching your face and wear a mask if you are sick.

Such actions can limit new infections just as they can with the flu, gastro illnesses and other infectious diseases.

France’s health ministry says that only two in 10 people regularly wash their hands after using the bathroom.

“And only 42% of people cover their mouth with an elbow or tissue when they cough or sneeze,” it added, not encouragingly.

Comment on this story

* Please login to comment. If you do not have an account please register below by simply entering a username, password and email address. You can still leave your comment below at the same time.

CAPTCHA

Be the first to comment.

 

Have a news tip-off? Click here

 

Phuket community
French tourists arrested for hookah party in Kamala

Ok Peace, let's not be racist, but we must admit that it is always the same people who are wreak...(Read More)


Immigration issues automatic visa extensions for all visa types

Well now I'm glad I went to immigration and did my 90 day report on April 1st, now that it turns...(Read More)


Chinese tourists questioned for illegal spearfishing in protected area

And now full force of the law on them! Double for the thai guide! Set a impressive example of '...(Read More)


Immigration issues automatic visa extensions for all visa types

How many hundreds needlessly exposed? Should have been done 2 weeks ago. ...(Read More)


Phuket Governor order warns of B20k fine for not wearing mask in public

@goldwing... these are emergency decrees by order of the government in order to prevent the widespre...(Read More)


Mains water supply outage in Rawai and Karon

r...how do arrive at your conclusion that the work is not urgent? As Pascale rightly points out, &qu...(Read More)


Phuket Songkran allowed, but stay in your subdistrict, says Governor

Bloomberg reporting Phuket infection rate at 36 per 100, 000 while Bangkok is at 21. This easing of...(Read More)


Phuket Songkran allowed, but stay in your subdistrict, says Governor

the shut down both the island and kathu is nt true. Please do what you annouced. My girl's relat...(Read More)


TAT issues full summary of COVID-19 restrictions in Phuket

my GF's grandma is still feel free to travel to Hatyai 2 days ago. And come to Wichit from Kathu...(Read More)


French tourists arrested for hookah party in Kamala

They are only French on their ID cards and whenever they want help from our government. They're...(Read More)