The coronavirus currently plaguing China and spreading global fears has been particularly deadly for elderly people with pre-existing health conditions. Yet it is not nearly as menacing as seasonal flu, physician specialists recently told Kaiser Health News.
Influenza rarely gets the sort of attention that 2019 Novel Coronavirus is getting, even though it kills more Americans each year than any other virus, the doctors pointed out. Familiarity breeds indifference, one physician reminded the news outlet.
“When we think about the relative danger of this new coronavirus and influenza, there’s just no comparison,” said William Schaffner, M.D., a professor of preventive medicine and health policy at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. “Coronavirus will be a blip on the horizon in comparison.”
Influenza has so far sickened at least 19 million Americans this season, according to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nearly 310,000 people have been hospitalized and 25,000 have died from the illness.
And flu season hasn’t yet peaked; in a bad year, it kills up to 61,000 Americans, Kaiser reported. In fact, the 2018-2019 flu season is linked to more than 280,000 hospitalizations and 25,000 deaths among adults ages 65 and older, according to the CDC.
The doctors recommended that anyone worried about their health should get the flu vaccination.