TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – As coronavirus cases continue to surge around the United States and in Florida, many people have reached out to WFLA via email and social media to find out how developing coronavirus data compares to the flu.
While the flu and coronavirus have some similar symptoms, there is not yet an approved vaccine for COVID-19. The flu vaccine became widely available in 1945.
During the 2019-2020 flu season in the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that between 39 million and 56 million people contracted the flu.
Total coronavirus patients in the United States currently total more than 2.5 million, the most reported cases in the world. Brazil had second-most with 1.3 million reported cases.
In 2019, the CDC reported that 0.1 percent of people who contracted the flu in the United States died.
So far, more than 6 percent of people with coronavirus cases have died, around 52 times higher than the flu’s death rate.
According to the CDC, the hospitalization rate in the U.S. for flu this season is about 69 hospitalizations per 100,000 people. The overall coronavirus hospitalization rate is 98.4 per 100,000 people.
WFLA spoke with Dr. Andrew Myers in March, a physician at Tampa General Hospital, who said there is one major symptomatic difference when it comes to coronavirus and the flu.
“With the flu, one day you wake up and you feel awful. You can’t get out of bed, you have fever, sweating, you feel terrible,” Myers said. “Coronavirus comes on much slower, you won’t feel as bad as fast it usually takes several days before someone seeks medical attention, whereas the flu is typically immediately you get it and can’t get out of bed.”