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Covid-19 compared to other viruses

(68 Posts)

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Sapphiresunrise Thu 26-Mar-20 19:53:41

I apologise sincerely in advance if my post causes any offense or uproar, that is not my intention at all. I am aware several MN posters fall into the high-risk category or have family members who do. People are understandably feeling on edge right now.

Just been doing a lot of reading (i'm no expert obviously). I know this is not the flu, but I read that flu caused roughly 20,000 UK deaths per flu season.
Many people believe that Covid-19 has been around for longer, as do I. If this had never been discovered, would the deaths have just been recorded as flu/pneumonia ?

I am aware that this has a very small chance of death in young, healthy patients. We are seeing them on the news now which is terrifying and tragic . Are these likely to be very rare/exceptional cases ?
Isn't there also a very small chance that young, healthy people can die of the flu ?

A large majority countries which have a temperature of above 35c appear to have a significantly lower number of cases, and death rates are in single figures/zero.

The patients who die. Are all patients' death recorded with Covid-19 as the sole cause, or did they die WITH Covid-19?
I'm sure other people have asked the same questions.

Hopefully I don't sound completely stupid or ignorant, just trying to gain some insight and maybe put people at ease.

Sapphiresunrise Thu 26-Mar-20 19:55:35

I meant to say that there are a very small number of young and healthy patients who die of the flu every year, but they are not usually reported on the news. Which makes us feel more terrified by the Covid-19 deaths reported in the young, whereas a similar proportion will have died from the flu.

NoIDontWatchLoveIsland Thu 26-Mar-20 20:00:41

Placemarking. I have a lot of the same questions as you OP.

CaptainBrickbeard Thu 26-Mar-20 20:04:22

I don’t understand these threads. How do you explain what is happening in Italy alone if you think this is just like the flu and isn’t causing any extra deaths? Have you seen the news at all??

Sapphiresunrise Thu 26-Mar-20 20:06:08

Of course, I watch the news constantly. I am just wondering if the number of deaths are really disproportionate to the number of flu deaths in Italy and elsewhere.

NoIDontWatchLoveIsland Thu 26-Mar-20 20:09:47

I don't think it's just like the flu. But hundreds of thousands of older people & people with health conditions do die, every year. Often they are already frail or poorly with chronic conditions and a seasonal virus is the straw that breaks the camel's back.

The year my grandfather passed away several in his nursing home died within a 3 week window. It was not unusual. Each death was not reported in local press etc.

It feels like this is perhaps more contagious and might perhaps accelerate/condense deaths into a shorter window. But how many of those dying are fit healthy young people? A handful? 25 or so people are killed by chicken pox each year and we don't report on it in the news.

CaptainBrickbeard Thu 26-Mar-20 20:10:51

Have you seen the obituary comparison? Do you realise that Italy’s hospitals are completely overwhelmed and they are not treating patients over 65 and have to let them die? Do you seriously think that happens every year from flu? Really? Because it doesn’t.

bathorshower Thu 26-Mar-20 20:11:18

I've wondered the same about the death rate (and when I looked up figures for flu deaths in the UK, it swings quite a bit, 10,000 - 30,000 each year).

However clearly a lot of people are very unwell, but recover. All non urgent appointments have been cancelled at our local (large, teaching) hospital; wards have been completely rearranged into covid+ and covid-. Intensive care units are overwhelmed, at least in London We don't get that each year with flu. So something is different.

The figures I found for flu are here:

The flu death stats are on page 51 of the 2018-2019 report. Under 20's are more likely to die of flu than Coronavirus.

Sapphiresunrise Thu 26-Mar-20 20:12:45

I agree that it's definitely not the flu. And yes that's the thing. We are told that this virus will kill a small number of young and healthy people, but nobody is 100% immune from anything, no matter the age.
I agree, we are becoming terrified because deaths in young people from Covid-19 are being reported, but as you said, deaths from young people happen for other reasons, they are just not usually reported.

480Heath Thu 26-Mar-20 20:12:48

I remember the Hong Kong flu in 1968,it killed 80,000 in the U.K.

NoIDontWatchLoveIsland Thu 26-Mar-20 20:13:01


Italy is actually known for having a worse than average track record on flu too.

dontdisturbmenow Thu 26-Mar-20 20:13:05

I remember reading about an 18 year old doing her A levels due to go into nursing dying from the flu despite no chronic conditions. That was 2 years ago, my DD had just recovered from it after being extremely ill with it.

Sapphiresunrise Thu 26-Mar-20 20:15:13

Thank you for the answers from posters. I thought I would get torn apart but it's good to see that others have similar questions and statistics to back it up.

CaptainBrickbeard Thu 26-Mar-20 20:16:54

I’m not going to read this thread or participate because I don’t want the frustration. This is a global pandemic and governments across the world are sacrificing the economy - they really, really wouldn’t do that if this were nothing worse than the flu. The people dying are not frail people who are on the brink and could be shoved over by a case of the sniffles. I can’t believe anyone can see what’s happening across the entire world and think it’s nothing.

fortunacookie Thu 26-Mar-20 20:17:15

I had flu last year, I felt like I was actually lasted 3 weeks.

I have symptoms of Coronavirus and have been poorly since last Friday ..I know without a doubt I felt worse with the flu last year but this just feels strange ...worse than a cold tho definitely.

I'm more scared of dying now than I was of flu last year even tho I felt worse then ...

NoIDontWatchLoveIsland Thu 26-Mar-20 20:19:29

My grandfather had the Asian flu that broke out in the 50s.

Sapphiresunrise Thu 26-Mar-20 20:20:54

That's fine, I understand, thank you for your input on the thread.
I guess only time will tell, i'm just praying for the testing kits and antibodies testing to come out asap.

NoIDontWatchLoveIsland Thu 26-Mar-20 20:21:48

Actually most of the people dying do have underlying conditions.

Data from China show almost 50% of deaths are in people with at least 3 other health conditions. Another 20% have 2, another 20% have 1.

NoIDontWatchLoveIsland Thu 26-Mar-20 20:22:14

Me too sapphire.

Sapphiresunrise Thu 26-Mar-20 20:23:11

Yes that is true.. And of that 10% with no conditions, a large quantity will be very elderly.

Devlesko Thu 26-Mar-20 20:24:52

Look at the stats for deaths from flu in the UK over the past few years. That will put it into perspective.
it's available from WHO, I was shocked and stopped reading because people were saying how corona was more contagious than flu.
Meaning that on top of the hundreds of thousands dying from flu more will die from corona, perhaps a million.
have a look but it is scary.

OoohTheStatsDontLie Thu 26-Mar-20 20:28:05

Why do you think it's been around for ages? It's clearly very contagious so if it had been around for ages why would there suddenly just now be a shortage of ventilators and intensive care beds and staff etc?

I think you're right on the deaths in young people though, normally things like chicken pox kills the odd child. I think the difference here though might be that the system is so overwhelmed that perhaps some young people are dying or will die because of pressures on the system that are not normally there, due to pandemic status. Also I think it's a good thing these deaths are being reported as too many young people were clearly thinking they didn't want to bother isolating to save older people as they wouldn't be that ill themselves

NoIDontWatchLoveIsland Thu 26-Mar-20 20:30:54

Meaning that on top of the hundreds of thousands dying from flu more will die from corona, perhaps a million.

I think this is the part people cannot be sure on..the deaths are unlikely to be on top of seasonal flu deaths as it's the same vulnerable people. The ones who would have got flu and died may die of Covid instead.

justanothernameonthewall Thu 26-Mar-20 20:33:41

I think the facts speak for themselves. When was the last time we had so many die of flu that they were having to store bodies in churches like they are just now in Italy? That would make the news.

The fact that the London intensive care units are totally overwhelmed. That would also be reported in the news.

That many places are having to create makeshift hospitals or rush through new ones (London?)

I get the comparison to flu and flu deaths but it is so, so, so much worse.

NoIDontWatchLoveIsland Thu 26-Mar-20 20:34:19

People don't seem to realise we don't have a constant surplus of intensive care beds. We are often stretched to the limit. It takes only the tiniest extra demand to tip the balance of our overstretched NHS.

It's much like loo roll. Shops only stock as much as we need, a few people buy just one extra pack and the shelves are empty and it's chaos.

DD was in intensive care in November when it's busy season for RSV bronchiolitis and one night there was only a single intensive care bed available in the whole country.

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