This Is How Many People Die From the Flu Each Year, According to the CDC
Are more people dying from the flu this season compared to other seasons? Here is what to know.
Worries over the novel coronavirus also referred to as COVID-19, have resisted lots of people’s worries about coming down with a case of the flu. But that does not mean folks ought to take flu lightly.
Flu season in the united states, which runs from October through May, claims thousands of lives each year. Because the flu isn’t a reportable disease in most states, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) doesn’t have a precise count of the number of people sickened annually. Instead, it develops estimates based on rates of laboratory-confirmed, flu-associated hospitalizations.
Preliminary CDC estimates for the 2019-2020 flu season indicate that, as of April 4, 2020, between 24,000 and 62,000 lost their lives to influenza. Add to the misery of countless thousands of flu-related hospitalizations and millions of health visits for influenza symptoms.
So while the flu has long been considered a dangerous seasonal scourge, new information on the COVID-19 outbreak highlights a frightening fact: COVID-19 is even deadlier.
Last influenza season, though difficult, failed to reach the “epidemic threshold,” infectious disease specialist Amesh A. Adalja, MD, senior scholar at the John’s Hopkins Center for Health Security in Baltimore, told Health in February.
When Health interviewed Dr. Adalja, there were just 13 confirmed cases of this new coronavirus in America, according to the CDC. In a matter of weeks, COVID-19 reached a pandemic status, sickening staggering numbers of individuals around the world and spreading to every country in America. Over 32 million people around the world have contracted COVID-19, and 977,000 have died, according to Johns Hopkins University’s real-time tracker. In the United States, almost 7 million cases have been confirmed, and 202,000 people have died.
So how do influenza and coronavirus compare? At first, the flu seemed to be an ominous concern. The death rate from influenza is usually only a fraction of 1 percent.
How things have changed.
During a March 11 hearing of the House Oversight and Reform Committee on coronavirus preparedness, Anthony Fauci, MD, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, put it clearly:”The seasonal influenza that we deal with each year has a mortality of 0.1%,” he told the congressional panel, whereas coronavirus is”10 times more deadly than the seasonal flu,” per STAT news.
As if the current situation weren’t dire enough, Dr. Fauci, a part of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, also cautioned that coronavirus could develop into a cyclical event, similar to the flu. Yet, as the US possibly faces another cycle, COVID-19 cases remain stubbornly high in several states.
In general, the CDC estimates that 12,000 and 61,000 deaths yearly since 2010 could be blamed on the flu. The greater number reflects the particularly harsh 2017-2018 flu season. Most years, the US death toll from the flu is nearer to 34,000 to 43,000. Globally, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that the flu kills 290,000 to 650,000 people annually.
The yearly death rate depends upon the particular strain of the virus that’s dominant, how well the vaccine is working to safeguard against that strain, and the number of people got vaccinated, according to Dr. Adalja. The flu can be more difficult to fight off for certain populations, including babies and young children, the elderly, and individuals who are immunocompromised because of chronic illnesses like HIV or cancer.
The CDC urges that everyone 6 months and older get a flu vaccine each year. It is the first and most important step people can take to guard against the flu and its complications, says CDC. And in COVID instances, keeping yourself and your loved ones healthy will”help preserve potentially scarce healthcare resources,” states the CDC.
Unlike seasonal influenza, there is no vaccine to prevent COVID-19, at least not yet. And that makes it even more important for each of us to take precautions to safeguard against the danger of acquiring and transmitting the new virus. The CDC recommends wearing a mask to reduce transmission in public spaces, setting space (at least 6 ft ) between yourself and others, practicing regular handwashing, and cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces–especially when somebody is ill.
The information in this story is accurate as of press time. However, as the situation surrounding COVID-19 continues to evolve, it is possible that some data have changed since publication. While Health is attempting to keep our tales as up-to-date as possible, we also encourage visitors to remain informed on news and recommendations to their own communities using the CDC, WHO, and their neighborhood public health department as sources.