Johns Hopkins Medicine: Flu showing more impact in U.S. than COVID-19


Influenza and COVID-19 are both respiratory illnesses with similar symptoms

According to a report from Johns Hopkins Medicine, as of March 9, the flu is showing more of an impact on Americans than COVID-19.

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(WKBN) – According to a report from Johns Hopkins Medicine, as of March 9, the flu is showing more of an impact on Americans than COVID-19.

Influenza and COVID-19 are both respiratory illnesses. The symptoms are similar but are caused by different viruses – influenza and coronavirus.

The Centers for Disease Control is updating the coronavirus outbreak daily on its website.

Similarities between COVID-19 and influenza: (Source: Johns Hopkins Medicine)


  • Both cause fever, cough, body aches, fatigue; sometimes vomiting and diarrhea
  • Can be mild or severe, even fatal in rare cases
  • Can result in pneumonia


  • Both can be spread from person to person through droplets in the air from an infected person coughing, sneezing or talking
  • A possible difference: COVID-19 might be spread through the airborne route (see details below under Differences)
  • Flu can be spread by an infected person for several days before their symptoms appear, and COVID-19 is believed to be spread in the same manner, but we don’t yet know for sure


  • Neither virus is treatable with antibiotics, which only work on bacterial infections
  • Both may be treated by addressing symptoms, such as reducing fever. Severe cases may require hospitalization and support such as mechanical ventilation


  • Both may be prevented by frequent, thorough hand washing, coughing into the crook of your elbow, staying home when sick and limiting contact with people who are infected
  • The differences between the viruses are more complex because there are still some things we don’t know about COVID-19
  • Differences between the flu and COVID-19 include the following. (Source Johns Hopkins Medicine)

The differences between COVID-19 and flu is what many people want to know. Right now, doctors believe COVID-19 has a higher mortality rate, according to the Johns Hopkins report.

More differences include:


  • COVID-19: Caused by one virus, the novel 2019 coronavirus, now called severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, or SARS-CoV-2
  • Flu: Caused by any of several different types and strains of influenza viruses


  • While both the flu and COVID-19 may be transmitted in similar ways (see the Similarities section above), there is also a possible difference: COVID-19 might be spread through the airborne route, meaning that tiny droplets remaining in the air could cause disease in others even after the ill person is no longer near

Antiviral medications

  • COVID-19: Antiviral medications are currently being tested to see if they can address symptoms
  • Flu: Antiviral medications can address symptoms and sometimes shorten the duration of the illness


  • COVID-19: No vaccine is available at this time, though it is in progress
  • Flu: A vaccine is available and effective to prevent some of the most dangerous types or to reduce the severity of the flu


  • COVID-19: Approximately 115,997 cases worldwide; 761 cases in the U.S. as of Mar. 10, 2020
  • Flu: Estimated 1 billion cases worldwide; 9.3 million to 45 million cases in the U.S. per year


  • COVID-19: Approximately 4,087 deaths reported worldwide; 27 deaths in the U.S., as of Mar. 10, 2020
  • Flu: 291,000 to 646,000 deaths worldwide; 12,000 to 61,000 deaths in the U.S. per year

A vaccine for COVID-19 may be months away. Many more cases are expected in the United States and worldwide.


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