Influenza is much more dangerous to American health than Chinese coronavirus
Coronavirus, an epidemic that began in the Chinese city of Wuhan, has already killed 26 people and infected more than 900 people, reports Yahoo.
The virus has spread to nine other countries, including the United States.
In patients infected with coronavirus, the following symptoms are observed: fever, headaches, pneumonia.
But, according to health experts and The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), influenza is a much more serious threat to the health of US residents than the coronavirus from Wuhan.
On the subject: What is dangerous virus from China and how to protect yourself
Since October, some 20 Americans have died from the flu. During the heavy flu season of 000, 2018 people died in the United States.
January 24, representatives of the CDC announced that the United States was revealed second person with coronavirus from Wuhan.
The woman went to Wuhan (China) at the end of December and returned to Chicago on January 13. The news of her diagnosis appeared three days after a man in the state of Washington became infected with the virus. US public health officials monitor at least 63 patients from 22 states.
Although the CDC believes that this coronavirus (its scientific name is 2019-nCoV) is a serious health problem, this time “the immediate health risk of 2019-nCoV for US residents is considered low”.
A serious risk to the health of Americans (not only now, but every year) is the flu.
Since October, some 20 people in the United States have died from the flu. While coronavirus infected about 000 people worldwide and killed 914 people.
“When we think about the relative dangers of this new coronavirus and flu, they just can't be compared,” said William Schaffner, a vaccine expert at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center. “Coronavirus is very small compared to the flu. The risk is minimal. ”
Tens of thousands of Americans die from the flu every year.
At least 15 million Americans have had the flu in the last four months, nearly a quarter of a million of them have been hospitalized. As the flu season peaks between December and February, the worst is yet to come.
“Influenza is rarely given that kind of attention, though every year it kills more Americans than any other virus,” said Peter Hotez, a virologist at Baylor College of Medicine.
In 2018, in the worst season of the flu over the past 40 years, 80 people in the United States died from the disease.
Of course, flu is a problem not only in the United States. According to the World Health Organization, seasonal influenza viruses infect 3 to 5 million people worldwide annually and kill up to 650 people a year.
Comparison of Flu and Chinese Coronavirus
Both flu and coronavirus can be transmitted from person to person through coughing and other close contacts.
Experts report that the average age of coronavirus deaths in Wuhan is about 75 years. Many of these people had other health problems, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and Parkinson's disease.
According to Adrian Heisler, the chief physician of Healix International, children, the elderly, pregnant women and people with weakened immune systems are more susceptible to serious complications of the Chinese coronavirus.
“People who can die due to this virus most often have other serious illnesses,” Heisler said. “But as it spreads, it will affect more people than the flu.” People aged 30–40 years who have no health problems will also become infected. ”
The CDC is much more concerned with protecting people in the US from the flu. 5 to 20% of Americans get the flu every year.
“The season of influenza and respiratory diseases has already begun, and the CDC recommends getting vaccinations, resorting to daily preventive measures to stop the spread of viruses, and taking antiviral drugs for influenza if recommended by a doctor,” the agency said in a statement released on January 24.
However, the key difference between flu and Chinese coronavirus is that there is a vaccine from the former, but not from the coronavirus.
“Choosing to get the flu shot or not can give people the illusion of control,” Schaffner said.
However, there is no perfect flu vaccine. Last year, it was about 29% effective among Americans.
According to the CDC, less than half of the U.S. adult population received the flu shot in the 2018-2019 season. Among children, 62% were vaccinated.
Since Chinese coronavirus is a new species, experts did not have time to develop a vaccine against it.
Several companies, including Moderna, Novavax, and Inovio, have announced preliminary vaccine development plans. But creating a vaccine is a difficult and long-term process (creating a vaccine against the Ebola virus took 20 years). None of the companies announced the expected release dates of their vaccines on the market.
Chinese coronavirus outbreak not considered pandemic
Wuhan and 11 other cities were isolated by China to stop the spread of the virus, although cases were reported in nine other countries, including the United States, France, and Japan.
However, an outbreak is not considered a pandemic. The World Health Organization has not yet announced a global public health emergency.
“A friend is always indifferent,” said Schaffner. “But since the virus has not been studied, mysterious and came from an exotic place, it causes increased concern.”
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