Why COVID-19 is worse than flu

If you’ve ever suffered from the flu, you’ll remember what it feels like. Flu is like no other illness. It stops you getting out of bed. It causes you to be disorientated, drowsy and confused. It’s an awful thing to suffer, but it’s not the same as COVID-19. To answer the question that’s been hanging around since COVID-19 began being classed as a pandemic – Coronavirus is not the same as the flu. It’s much worse. The symptoms appear to resemble flu, especially the persistent cough and fever, but this virus is a lot worse.

Infection rate

Statistics don’t tell us everything and let’s not forget that there’s not a lot of data on COVID-19 to base the following on, but stats give us a glimpse of what we’re dealing with, and we’re going to give you some numbers so you’ll understand that flu and Coronavirus are nothing alike. The first telling statistic is how easy it is to transfer from one human to another. On average, flu suffers transmit the virus to 1.3 other people. With COVID-19, that number is 2.5. That means that each flu suffers infects one other person, which basically means the virus continues but doesn’t grow in number. There’s a multiple of 2.5 with each Coronavirus suffer.

Incubation time

The next telling statistic is the incubation time. That’s the period from first exposure to the first symptoms. With flu, it’s four days. With COVID-19, it’s anywhere from one to 14 days. At the moment, the flu hospitalises about 2 per cent of those who contract it. Coronavirus is hospitalising 19 per cent of sufferers. With the flu, the fatality rate is very small. It’s just 0.1 per cent. Between winter 2018 and winter 2019, there were 312 confirmed deaths as a result of flu in the UK. By the 22nd of March, there were 281 deaths as a result of Coronavirus in the UK.

No vaccine

Unlike flu, there’s no vaccine for the virus. And it behaves differently to flu at a biological level, so scientists can’t take anything from the flu vaccine. The virus is at least twice as contagious as the flu because no human immune system has built up a defence to it. Prevention is better than cure in this instance.


If you thought the UK is overreacting to Coronavirus, think again. There are a lot of people continuing to socialise. Loads more who are being inconsiderate by continuing to go about their business as if nothing has changed. These statistics should act as a wakeup call. They don’t tell the whole story, but they show that this virus is far worse than flu, and it shouldn’t be taken lightly. It seems obvious that it could easily overwhelm the NHS, a resource that is always stretched to capacity. Stopping the spread of the disease is the only way it can be contained. Boris Johnson believes we will rid the UK of the virus in 12 weeks. Let’s hope this is one promise he keeps.

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