Dr. Anthony Fauci stressed that Coronavirus, COVID-19 was “very much different from influenza” a few hours after President Trump falsely claimed that the virus was “much more deadly.”
With more than 210,750 Americans dying from COVID-19 since March. The virus is killing people at an unprecedented rate unlike any disease seen in more than 100 years.
Yet the mistaken belief that COVID-19 is no more deadly than seasonal flu continues to circulate on social media, often encouraged by President Donald Trump. On Tuesday, he dangerously tweeted that “sometimes more than 100,000” people die from the flu each year and that Americans should not cover their lives because of COVID-19. Which he claims “in large parts of the population is much more deadly. . ” Facebook removed a similar post from Trump – who is currently sick with COVID-19 – and Twitter flagged the tweet. Saying that it violated Twitter rules “about spreading misleading and potentially dangerous information related to COVID-19.”
In fact, fewer people die from seasonal flu each year – between 12,000 and 61,000 Americans each year. There are some years, like the 2017-2018 flu season when an estimated 80,000 Americans died, it’s more severe, but it’s more severe – during the 2019-2020 flu season, an estimated 22,000 people died, according to the Center for Disease Control.
In just eight months, COVID-19 has killed more Americans than the last five flu seasons combined, CNN reported.
COVID-19 is not only more deadly, it is also much more contagious. During the common cold season, each person who catches the flu will infect about 1.28 other people. In comparison, an individual with COVID-19 will infect two to three other people, triggering a much larger chain of infection.
Once people become infected with COVID-19, they may have asymptomatic or mild cases. However, there is a risk, which increases significantly if they have a pre-existing condition, that is, they will develop severe symptoms such as pneumonia, respiratory failure, sepsis, blood clots, heart failure and kidney injury, and other complications that require hospitalization. And at this time, there is no direct cure or vaccine for COVID-19, only drugs that can improve symptoms.
It all makes COVID-19 deadlier than the flu, emphasized Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, on Tuesday.
“You don’t have a pandemic that kills a million people and it hasn’t even ended in influenza,” Fauci said on NBC News shortly after Trump’s tweet. “So it’s not true to say it’s the same as the flu. It has some overlapping symptoms from the start. But the flu doesn’t do the things that COVID-19 can do to you.”
Since the president was infected last week, he has claimed preventing COVID-19 is a matter of not “being afraid” of the virus – which critics say is dangerous language and ignoring simple prevention methods such as wearing masks and practicing social distancing.
Fauci, who also said that COVID-19 is “very much different from influenza,” declined to mention Trump’s tweet directly.
“I have work to do, and personally I am going against the president of the United States openly is not a good thing if I want to get my job done,” he said.
The information in this story was accurate at press time. However, as the situation around COVID-19 continues to develop, it is possible that some data has changed since being published. While Health tries to keep our stories up to date, we also encourage readers to stay informed about news and recommendations for their own communities using the CDC, WHO, and local public health departments as resources.