At the beginning of this year’s influenza (flu) season, when some people were having symptoms of body aches, fever and chills it was thought they had seasonal flu, and this was a typical flu season. Oh, how wrong they were!
This has turned out to be anything but typical! What we quickly learned is that there was a virus lurking among us that was unlike any other we have encountered, and it was traveling fast! The news reports started coming in from China, then Europe that people were dying at a rapid pace.
When the novel coronavirus-COVID-19 was first recognized in the U.S., people said it was like the flu. Although these two viruses cause respiratory disease and have similar symptoms, the COVID-19 is much deadlier!
“It is a unique virus, with unique characteristics,” explains the director-general of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus at a press conference. “This virus is not SARS, it’s not MERS, and it’s not influenza.”
Worldwide, at the beginning of March of this year, the COVID-19 death rate was about 3.4% compared to about 0.1% of people who contracted seasonal flu.
As of March 28, there were over 100,000 cases in the U.S. and over 2,200 deaths with the first reported death on February 29, 2020 compared to approximately 20,000 from the flu from October 1, 2019 to March 14, 2020.
It is the rapid acceleration of cases of COVID-19 versus the flu that is unprecedented. Because COVID-19 is still very new, we have not developed immunity, there is no vaccine, and no real way to treat it.