Secretly Killing 10,000 People in the US, Why Does the Flu in the News Not as Big as Coronavirus?

Secretly Killing 10,000 People in the US, Why Does the Flu in the News Not as Big as Coronavirus? - While the world is stirred up by the Coronavirus that attacks China and world leaders rush to close their borders to protect citizens from the outbreak, the flu has secretly killed 10,000 in the US so far this influenza season.

At least 19 million people have the flu in the US, with 180,000 ending up in hospitals, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The flu season, which began in September and can run until May, is currently at its peak and poses a more significant health threat to the US than the new coronavirus, doctors say. The new virus, which first appeared in Wuhan, China, on December 31, has left around 17,400 people sick and killed 362 people, mostly in the country on Monday morning.

Secretly Killing 10,000 People in the US, Why Does the Flu in the News Not as Big as Coronavirus?
"In the US, it's really a media scare, and it's something new," Dr. Jennifer Lighter, a hospital epidemiologist at NYU Langone Health, said about the new coronavirus. "In fact, people can take steps to protect themselves against the flu, which is here and common and has killed 10,000 people."

However, a coronavirus outbreak has proven to be more deadly than the flu. It has killed around 2% of people who have contracted it so far, according to world health officials. That compared with a mortality rate of 0.095% for the flu in the US, according to CDC estimates for the 2019-2020 flu season. The CDC estimates that 21 million people will eventually catch a cold this season.

"Two percent of deaths are still difficult cases of death when you compare it to deaths from seasonal flu or other things," Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of the WHO health emergency program, told reporters on Wednesday.

"A relatively mild virus can cause a lot of damage if many people get it," he added. "And this is the problem now. We do not fully understand it. "

Although some professionals and health analysts believe that the number of coronavirus cases is much higher, which means a lower mortality rate.

"I think we will find that the mortality rate will be lower," Lighter said. "There is a possibility that more than a few times, the number of people who suffer (cases) are mild or show no symptoms."

"This might end in proportion to the bad flu season," Lighter added.

If that's the case, it will bode well for the virus mortality rate, specialist pathogen Dr. Syra Madad told CNBC "Squawk Box." That would bring the death rate much lower, he pointed out, if there were 100,000 cases and only 362 deaths compared to 10,000 cases with 362 deaths.

"If we say more than 100,000 cases, the overall severity of the disease drops," he said. "The risk for the general American public is low," Madad noted, although it was still "very alarming."

Both viruses have the same symptoms, which some health officials fear will cause misdiagnoses. Typical flu symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, and aching. Symptoms of coronavirus include fever, coughing, and shortness of breath, according to the CDC.

For now, Lighter emphasizes that the community must focus on flu, which affects children, especially this season. He urged people to get their flu shots if they haven't already and practice good hygiene. If they were near someone who was sick, he said to stand three feet away.

"We are ready at NYU to see patients who have coronavirus," he said. "But we must stay focused on the patients in our hospital."


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