Many people have sought to compare coronavirus to seasonal flu, but without the hard stats.
In fact, the statistics are a moving target. For one, people can get flu year round, but peak flu season is over, according to CDC. Coronavirus has not yet peaked in the U.S., says CDC. Since coronavirus is an unknown entity, its numbers could theoretically overtake those of flu. Therefore, current comparisons measure several months of a flu season against a coronavirus outbreak for which a "season" or peak is as yet undetermined.
Also, coronavirus is likely far more prevalent than implied by official case counts based on positive tests, since many people are not getting tested for coronavirus.
Scientists say there are many similarities between flu and coronavirus (see chart below), but one difference is a longer possible incubation period for coronavirus. Another involves severe respiratory symptoms. They can come from both flu and coronavirus, but are believed to be more common with coronavirus.
In any event, considering the high toll the flu takes on American society each year, I asked CDC why there is no similar response and preventive campaign, such as quarantines. The question and answer are below:
Sharyl Attkisson: Why do we not take these measures each year for flu to prevent all of those deaths?
CDC: This is a novel virus and there is much more to learn about transmissibility, severity, and other features associated with COVID-19. Unlike influenza, there is no vaccine to protect against COVID-19 and no medications approved to treat it. And there’s essentially no immunity against this virus in the population because it’s a new virus. Mortality for COIVD-19 also appears higher than for influenza, especially seasonal flu – so it’s important that everyone do their part to help respond to this emerging public health threat.
With all of that in mind, here are the numbers as of Sunday, March 22:
- Coronavirus: 417*
- Flu Season 2019-2020: 23,000**
U.S. Deaths Among Children
- Coronavirus: 0
- Flu Season 2019-2020: 149*
U.S. Cases of Illness
- Coronavirus: 33,276*
- Flu Season 2019-2020: 38,000,000**
*Retrieved Sun. March 22: https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/map.html
- Coronavirus: 15,436*
- Flu Season 2019-2020: 290,000-650,000**
*https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/map.html retrieved Sun. March 22
**World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that the flu kills 290,000 to 650,000 people per year.
“COVID-19 and flu share some similar symptoms.”
Steve Faith says
The question I would like asked, is H1N1 killed between 8k and 17k people in the US in 2009 affecting a decidedly younger demographic. It too jumped from animals (Pig's) to Humans, why did we not respond to H1N1 the way we have responded to Coronavirus?
Jazzy Joker says
H1N1 was known and already had a vaccine. Also the media wouldn't have dreamed of attacking Obama. Those deaths were "acceptable" so no need to fear monger & shut down economy.
Really? Pull your head out of the sand. (or worse) Look up the death rate for the swine flu. Not real high was it? Not compared to the overall infection rate. There's your answer sonny. But it be so much easier to blame Obama, even though it is ridiculous to do so.
Sharyl Attkisson says
CDC was incorrect about its swine flu stats, but I do not think they ever did a mea culpa and people continue to quote the wrong figures today. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/swine-flu-cases-overestimated/
Heather Peterson says
True. I just went on the CDC website and he above statistics quoted for flu deaths are incorrect. The deaths for the flu were much higher than quoted. So frustrating.
They did not answer your question about the flu. Yes, there are many unknowns about this virus, but the deaths claimed by the flu are staggering in comparison. The measures being taken now seem justified for this unknown virus, but do we not care about preventing deaths from the flu? Are we numb to those deaths...can we do nothing besides get your vaccine and hope it protects? Good hand hygiene and social distancing would probably lower those flu deaths.
WILLIAM DOMB says
Dang right and bang on target.
Still have yet to see any justification for ripping the heart out of our country.
If you want, get the oldsters and medically compromised to hole up. Support 'em if you must, but get the rest of the country back to work!
Please continue to post these graphs as covid expands in the USA. Very educational.
These questions point out the lunacy of the current lockdowns. There are 40,000 deaths per year from car accidents? Should we ban driving? Average of 50,000 deaths per year from the flu? Should we lock down the country for 2-3/months every winter? Put things in perspective!
Johann Strattonburg says
Absolutely Agreed!!! There's obviously something much more sinister at play here, especially when you look at the death rates due to other causes - take Deaths due to Medical/Hospital Error - it's between 250,000 and 440,000 annually - and that's just in the US!!!
And now all of a sudden the gov't gives a sh!z about grandma and grandpa!?!? Please, haha.
This whole situation reeks of Deep State Corruption!
Steve Knight says
You lost me at the first chart comparing US Coronavirus deaths to the 2019-2020 flu season as of March 22. Please be sure to publish that chart again in 14 days since there’s a good chance it will tell a very different story
Sharyl Attkisson says
You could be right. If we had to bet on it, just based on wild guesses, I would bet in 2 weeks the US death profile vs. flu death profile will not be dramatically changed over the current chart.
Fred Gregory says
So the flu infects a lot more people than the Coronavirus ( for now) but the Coronavirus is much more deadly and tends to overwhelm the healthcare system because a lot of folks end on ventilators. Personally,, based on the data I have seen, I would much rather contract the flu over COVID 19. I am over 50 and male, just those to stats alone give me 20% chance of ending up on oxygen in a hospital. We have no drugs, no immunity and our healthcare system could be overwhelmed by the new virus. I agree with you, we need to improve our vaccines for flu but COVID 19 at this time is much more dangerous than the flu.
Germany has 30,000 corona viruses but yet only a super tiny 130 deaths. Whereas, neighbor Italy now has 6,000 deaths cause they hug Chinese and have near third world healthcare.
Suggest moving to Germany and not hug Chinese.
Fred, I'd advise if you are worried that you drastically change your diet to bolster your immune system. I'm, of course making assumptions here that you are likely on the typical Standard American Diet. Please forgive me if I'm wrong; I mean no disrespect. But, the majority of Americans suffer from diseases and illnesses that are related to their diet. The FDA continues to push myths about "healthy" foods. The food pyramid, if followed, is deadly. At your age (I'm in my 50's too) especially, you need a higher protein, higher fat (not bad fats like toxic seed oils and margarine), lower carbohydrate (sugar) diet. Seek foods that lower inflammation in your body. Inflammation is tied to most disease. Don't fear animal fats, don't fear cholesterol (your brain needs it!), don't fear meat (beef is full of nutrition), etc. Basically, if the FDA tells you to cut consumption of something, you should eat it. We have an epidemic of insulin resistance (type II diabetes) in this country because of their poor guidelines. Bottom line, bolster your immune system with your diet and you will be fine.
Turn off the TV news. You have been programmed by fear based professional liars.
Sharyl, if you are wrong will you come clean on your show and here on your website? Is anyone paying attention at all? Meaning, this is still early in first quarter of the game. How about we check back with you mid April.? Sound good? No, "the profile" will NOT be the same as on the 23rd. It's NOT the flu.
Sharyl Attkisson says
Thank you for your comment. Wrong about what? I haven't made any predictions or claims and am reporting CDC info. If they are wrong I supposed they will ultimately revise the figures. Meantime, clearly as I stated repeatedly, the numbers will change. This is a snapshot in time of the facts as they exist.
Steve Brooks says
Joe, sounds like you actually desire a lockdown and large-scale deaths. You sound very political...
Kathleen Mullin says
Thank you Sharyl for sharing this information. I have been also doing my own research and cannot believe that we shut down our Country. As of today , we have 500 total deaths. In our Country. In 2009 when Obama was President we had the H1N1 virus... 60 million Americans infected...274,000 hospitalizations.. 13,000 deaths...nothing was closed .. Most Americans are fearful because the media is reporting this inaccurately. The media is causing people to panic. This is despicable.
Thanks again for informing the American people.
Kathleen, I agree with you. This is verging on ridiculous. We are surrounded by bacteria and viruses all the time and always have been. When we get a new virus, yes, we do have to become immune to it and that happens when we get exposed to it. People (no matter their age) with healthy immune systems will do fine. I am in my 70s and do NOT fear it. Shutting down our country will cause way more deaths than the coronavirus will. If we do this every time there is a new virus, we'll never have an open country. We have new strains of the flu every year and every year people get vaccinated and then end up with flu-like (or the flu) symptoms from the vaccine. When you look at what the ingredients are in a vaccine and the possible side effects, you might not be excited to get one. I know, I vaccinated my kids, thinking the CDC was really doing their job. I know better now and wouldn't take any vaccine, personally. I pray we keep our choice to make our own decision about our own health! I urge everyone to start really reading/researching about vaccines - before - we have no choice in the matter!
John Cocktoseten says
Completely agree, Kathleen! In my opinion there’s a multi-layered hidden agenda behind this contrived crisis/shutdown.
While everyone is panicking & distracted -- LOTS of legislation has been and is going through Congress. Check out the Patriot Act Renewal, FISA, 2011 NDAA and EARN IT act....US digital currency bill (want to get rid of paper money; can’t track it), stripped down/less stringent voting ID law (easier to rig), emergency pandemic laws (more censorship, more gov’t/telecom partnership to track movement and access messages, judges can now detain anyone without trial....
Also they wanted an economic reset, are now rushing vacccines....will use this pandemic to try to make vaccines mandatory for all citizens,
People need to wake up!!!
Steve Jones says
"Unlike influenza, there is no vaccine to protect against COVID-19 and no medications approved to treat it." With 23,000 US deaths from the flu despite those tools, doesn't that make the flu far worse than COVID-19?
JEFF U says
The question is if those 23,000 had gotten the vaccine. How many die if they get the vaccine ? Over half the country doesn't get flu shot.
I imagine vast majority of those 23,000 didn't get the shot.
The CDC is there to answer that question Jeff. You just have to go look it up.
BTW, how do you PROVE with 100% certainty, that the flu vaccine, prevents the flu?
Up until a left the Army, I got the flu shot, and always got the flu. I haven't had a flu shot now for years, at most I would get the sniffles. And the last time I got real sick, sans flu shot, was when I got a bacterial infection... more than likely from cleaning out my garage infested with field mice poop.
Id wager the vast majority of that deadly number DID get the shot.
That's easily verified during mortuary services, if not during treatment before death.
The "Big Apple" is Now the "Diseased Apple"
The Metropolitan District of New York State has the greatest concentration of COVID-19 infected patients in the entire U.S. Over 12,000 reported cases alone in New York City to date.
It appears that hardly anyone from the 20,610 active cases has been identified as "recovered" since the disease was first reported on March 1, 2020. It's now been 22 days.
Is it possible, the disease started among the 725,000 illegal aliens housed in New York City (i.e., "sanctuary city") who WERE NEVER MEDICALLY EXAMINED for communicable diseases before being allowed to reside in the metro district as required by the CDC?
Here is an excerpt from the CDC website:
"As part of the medical examination for immigration, all immigrants are required to have an assessment for the following vaccine-preventable diseases: mumps, measles, rubella, polio, tetanus and diphtheria toxoids, pertussis, Haemophilus influenzae type B, rotavirus, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, meningococcal disease, varicella, influenza, and pneumococcal pneumonia. Persons already in the United States applying for adjustment of status for permanent residency, including refugees, are also required to be assessed for these vaccine-preventable diseases."
"Emperor" Cuomo and Mayor De Blasio are panicking to try and shift the blame to some other reason while they ignored these illegal aliens potentially seeding the general population with disease, all to swell the voting rolls in their favor.
Maybe reusable shopping bags (new law just implemented) added to the spread of all viruses and disease
Adam Tharp says
Thanks Sharyl.... real, objective Journalism
Your a journalist and we trust you.
Richard Robbins says
These stats certainly don't seem to justify the exaggerated response we've had to this sickness, which has nearly negligible consequences compared to the flu. Something must be at play with those who are managing this issue besides simply trying to contain the virus.
Also, why are people so quick to turn over their immune system and protection to something manufactured in a lab instead of simply following known good practices (avoiding sugar, eating healthy, etc.) for establishing a naturally functioning immune system?
I don't get it.
Thank you for always concise reporting.
I've been unable to find numbers on how many people are being tested. I'd like to see how the number of confirmed cases tracks with the number of tests being given.
Also, I haven't seen any numbers on how burdened the hospitals are with the thousands of people who have the virus. If our main goal of the "shelter in place" efforts is to curb the burden on the health care system, it'd be good to start tracking that.
If you are able to find those numbers, I think it'd be interesting.
Kenneth Mulderig says
Why are the feds doing prisoner transfers from NY to PA. The last thing you do in a pandemic is put people on a bus for 3+ hours from a hot zone to another state.
.......or put them on a bus and release them into an already jittery public setting.
I think something people are missing is that comparing the number of deaths is not the true measure of seriousness; it's the percentages. 79,000 deaths out of 49-million flu cases is 0.0016%. COVID-19 percentages are hovering between 1-3%. If the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise, it will prove far more fatal than the flu.
I meant to say 0.16%, which would make COVID-19 at least 10x more fatal.
The current death rate from coronavirus in the US is about 1.2% and going downward as more people are tested. In Germany it is a super tiny 0.4%. In addition a whopping estimated 80% of those infected with coronavirus have cases so mild they are not being reported at all. That means, the death rate is much much smaller than being reported. In addition, the the malaria drugs have been confirmed by numerous studies to work and it is anticipated to drive these numbers down further. Lastly, corovirus appears to only be severe to the very old or those with multiple health ailments. A better strategy is to focus on helping and protecting the old and ailing, rather than shutting down the US and causing tens of millions to die fron starvation.
Jim Coen says
SO refreshing to read REAL journalism! Thank you.
Jack Dellevigne says
I think the right comparison for flu deaths is the 2009-2010 H1N1 outbreak. It also was a novel virus without vaccine or treatment. This was the so-called swine flu and it killed young people selectively, which to me is worse than a high mortality rate for those over 65 like covid 19. The CDC numbers for H1N1 then are still listed in ranges so they are estimates, but the range reported is 8,800-18,800.
Truth is we don't know and since it overlapped with the regular flu there could easily have been a mix of deaths causes..
The worst flu year was 2017-2018 where there was one week of 1,698 deaths from the regular flu. We're still far below that rate.
Is this crisis overblown? We won't know until the rate of deaths tips over and starts to decline. As soon as it does we should take the economic restrictions off.
We should ignore the case rate and the rest of the world's numbers. The only number that counts is how many die from this thing here in the US.
Clarke Poorman says
Have the governors of NY and CA considered the cause of COVID-19 to be their corrupt behaviour in leadership and among their immoral "businesses" practices (abortion, human trafficking, drugs , :sanctuary city mentality" and Hollywood Life style, infinitum?? "Be sure your sin will find you out", Numbers 32:23,Bible
Lynn C says
Because those things don’t happen much in any other states, right? 🤦🏻♀️ Talk about preconceived notions & ignorance! You must not get around the country much OR are even slightly educated on what is really happening all over the USA. Sheesh!!
According to the 2017-2018 flu stats the hospitalization rate is 1.96%.. It would be useful if the CDC provided stats showing how the national rates & NYC rates compare to other flu seasons at similar time periods. Other useful comparable stats are length of hospital stay and percentage of cases requiring ventilators. Percentage of travel related cases is also important .Also, can the CDC provide stats showing localities that are common hot spots each flu season. These stats may help to explain current conditions and determine future needs/actions.
Per CDC 2019/2020 flu season estimates of hospitalizations is lowest since CDC started to do estimates. I assume this doesn't include coronavirus.
Another Time says
Gives the right perspective! Thanks.
Might be useful to add a few things:
- % of flu (hospital and deaths) and Wuhan (hospital and deaths) as percentage of total US population
- flu vs Wuhan day by day
Tom W says
I was on the front lines if H1N1. I was making rounds and calling MDs to discharge their floor patients, and transfer their patients from ICU to the open floor beds we just created. This was to make room for the ventilated patients in the hallways of the ER and those that had overflowed to the recovery room. No one paid attention. 1000 deaths BEFORE it was declared a national emergency. No vaccine then, none now. Here we are,. The difference? In 2009, the media viewed the occupant of the White House as someone who could do no wrong and now, view the occupant as someone who can do no right. I do not say we shouldn't have done something then. - we should have, which would have better prepared us for today. Covid19 has a long way to go before it reaches the scale of the pandemic of 2009. Until it achieves such stature, this will remain in my mind and the minds of many as one more attempt to interfere with with the election of 2016 and 2020. Thank you for reporting. Contrarion views are hazardous to your career and I applaud your courage.
For some reason when I try to share it to Facebook, the link on Facebook doesn't work. I've tried it different ways and it still doesn't work. Would love to share this data!
the mirror says
We will certainly die from starvation when we cant feed ourselves.
the mirror says
OPEN OUR COUNTRY!!
E. Rawlins says
A study conducted by The International Journal for Infectious Disease in Italy from 2013-2017 found higher rates of infection and mortality as compared to it's neighboring countries. The questions is, "How many of the infections/deaths reported out of Italy by WHO/CDC are due to seasonal flu and NOT CV as we are led to believe?"
Makes you wonder about CV stats for USA.
Here is the link to the study for those interested in learning more:
You can also download a PDF copy of the study from the above link.
Marc VanHoogstraat, D.C. says
Sheryl ~ You might want to look into the flu numbers before and after 2015. This is when the CDC began combining flu deaths with pneumonia deaths. The actual flu death numbers are quite low, the vast majority are pneumonia related.
Very important to note! Also we should note that most doctors do not perform a lab test to confirm influenza. It could be assumed that far less than 38 million people actually had influenza.
You cdc souse says 79,000 deaths form 2017-18. CDC site now says 61,000. Am I missing something?
Looks like you’re comparing total number of confirmed, lab-tested cases of COVID-19 to population projections of influenza. This is an apples and oranges comparison. The same CDC page you cite seems to indicate about 300k confirmed, lab-tested cases of influenza for the entirety of the 2019-2020 flu season (from late September to now). Compare this to the 30k results you showed for about two months of COVID-19 (btw this is up to 100k as of this morning).
Now also remember that it’s easier and faster to test for flu than coronavirus, and that coronavirus has a much longer incubation period, and it seems obvious why this is being treated differently.
Sharyl Attkisson says
Yes the confusion comes in some ways because public health officials are using confirmed cases to calculate death rate of coronavirus (making it much larger) but are usually not stating this part of the equation. Right now, as I note in the story, there are no figures to do apples to apples. But since people are asking about how many died of flu etc. compared to coronavirus (so far) this is what the govt. has provided to date. It will change. (As noted).
As you said it's a moving situation and should be updated lets say in May, But where we are now it doesn't take Common core Math to show that Covid-19 is very serious
In the US as of right now 562,742 confirmed cases with 2,849,000 tests , 22,,163 deaths in the US.
The Flu 39 Million cases and 24,000 deaths., Based on that we will eclipse the Flu related deaths before even hitting 1 Million. Even using the 60,000 potential deaths from Flu related deaths. based on 39 Million it's clear this new Virus is headed to being deadlier .
We're now into July. Time has proven this is all a huge hoax. There is not one published study showing a virus has been isolated to cause this disease. Yet, tyrants all over the globe quarantine the healthy and entire populations have been decimated because they can not get food. Civil war is set to begin.
Wil Deschine says
It is August 2021 and I just read this report.
Is there a follow-up report on this? If so, please email it to me or its location.
Elfego García Caceres says
I have been reading the comments from both sides of the political influence in the USA Republican and democrat. Sadly republicans/white Christian’s, people through their leadership from the past administration have a negative agenda on regards to science and containment of the COVID 19 virus. Democrats have been all to quiet about it and maybe that is a strategy that needs to change for more education in regards to the current epidemic.
Psychologically it appears that republicans are willing to sacrifice an amount of people because they think that this virus cane defeated by just keeping borders and corporations working. The lack of understanding about viruses causes these emotional outburst of keeping the country open and taking the loss of life as necessary to overcome the virus. Nothing could be more wrong than that kind of attitude, and thinking. It is true that herd immunity would have saved a lot of lives but many fear a vaccine and create lies and propaganda against it because it doesn’t fit their agenda to discredit the current administration in the White House. So these politically deranged are willing to sacrifice the lives of hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of humans to promote their negative agenda. That transcends the political realm and moves into the self destruction.
I agree that a more aggressive education agenda on regards to the understanding of the virus and it’s variations, the different vaccines and their effect in helping humans against the virus, would contribute to stop politicizing this pandemic.
It is time to see that this retrovirus known as COVID 19 kills and it kills by the millions once a new strain develops because some idiot doesn’t want to prevent its deadly spreading. The flu can kill people who are very I’ll or who are extremely susceptible, but COVID 19 is a more deadly killer that will continue to develop into something worse.
So instead of continuing to put a message of Arian proportions in the USA to comeback after it was put down during WWII, try to open your minds to change and to living in a more tolerant world, embracing each race as your own. Because like it or not we all bleed red, we are all humans.