How does the new coronavirus compare with the flu?

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Mar 12, 2020
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Comparing the flu to the new coronavirus is like comparing apples and oranges.

The new coronavirus has only been infecting humans for about a month while the flu has been infecting humans for more than half a year.

The flu wasn't even being reported on in its first month.

This coronavirus seems to be more infective than the flu and more deadly.
From someone who doesn't understand anything about virology.... Please study before you type. There are immense correlations between the two. In fact, there are more similarities than differences.
 
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Mar 12, 2020
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I think you all should stop talking to each other, vomiting out dumb crap you read from other idiots and pick up a virology book and think logically. Then come back and discuss ideas and actual facts. Almost none of you have any idea about even the structure of a standard virus, yet are talking like you're experts but in reality don't know a virion from a damn capsid.

No offense to anyone in particular but the crap I read to the intelligent comments are outweighed 1000 to 1. Try actually studying.
 
Mar 17, 2020
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Two quotes from the same site (here):

"This happened in 2009 with the swine flu pandemic, which is estimated to have killed between 151,000 and 575,000 people worldwide, according to the CDC."

and

"In 2009, this virus (then called the swine flu) caused a pandemic, and is thought to have killed 200,00 people worldwide."

...demonstrate succinctly just how appallingly unreliable our sources of information are, and how sloppy presumably objective (ie science sites) reporting can be.
 
Mar 18, 2020
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How does the new coronavirus compare with the seasonal flu, and which should you most worry about?

How does the new coronavirus compare with the flu? : Read more
Death rate
"The death rate from seasonal flu is typically around 0.1% in the U.S., according to The New York Times. "
>> 0.1 = deaths / number of people their models tell them might have had the flu.

"The death rate for COVID-19 appears to be higher than that of the flu.
In the study published Feb. 18 in the China CDC Weekly, researchers found a death rate from COVID-19 to be around 2.3% in mainland China. "
>>2.3% = deaths / confirmed cases

"Another study of about 1,100 hospitalized patients in China, published Feb. 28 in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that the overall death rate was slightly lower, around 1.4%. "
>> A study of hospital cases in a country with universal healthcare.

Apples to apples , use deaths over confirmed cases.
Seasonal flu death rate in USA = 5% of confirmed cases. COVID19 death rate in USA = 1.5% of confirmed cases. In South Korea: 1% of confirmed cases.

Using hard numbers of deaths / confirmed cases, the Seasonal Flu is over 3x as deadly as COVID19.
 
Mar 21, 2020
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If R0 of coronavirus is more than Seasonal flu, so Why in Fact the rate of the Flue is so much more than cov19?!
I mean the affected people and hospitalization rates. Flu has such a more hospitalization that with 0.05% of Death rate, yet has nearly 6x more than Cov_19!!!!
So how Can I solve this contradictary informations?!

Hopefully, recent events have proven the difference and why this article is misleading.
 
Mar 21, 2020
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In order to compare SARS-nCov-2 Influenza and Pneumonia with Influenza and Pneumonia caused by other strains of Influenza viruses, we would need to have the daily reported numbers of deaths from the other strains.

The world is very focused on COVID19 and there are many reports of the daily number of people dying from COVID19. If we want to compare, then we need the death numbers from the other strains.

Otherwise, how can we compare apples with apples?

Yes, we can use last years annual figures and estimate the daily deaths, but why should we do that? Surely it is know how many people in each country each day died from Influenza and Pneumonia which was not caused by the SARS-nCov-2 strain.
 
Mar 22, 2020
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In order to compare SARS-nCov-2 Influenza and Pneumonia with Influenza and Pneumonia caused by other strains of Influenza viruses, we would need to have the daily reported numbers of deaths from the other strains.

The world is very focused on COVID19 and there are many reports of the daily number of people dying from COVID19. If we want to compare, then we need the death numbers from the other strains.

Otherwise, how can we compare apples with apples?

Yes, we can use last years annual figures and estimate the daily deaths, but why should we do that? Surely it is know how many people in each country each day died from Influenza and Pneumonia which was not caused by the SARS-nCov-2 strain.
Media, etc. probably don't want us to compare those numbers now, as it would probably show that it's more scaremongering than anything else.

Yes, it's a new virus, and no, it probably won't kill more than any other previous influenza's/derivatives.

https://puu.sh/FnwEQ/2de2e5e02c.png Those numbers would probably send the world in a permanent state of panic if they started being at the top of news pages as well :p

I know they're estimates though of course, not 100% true numbers.
 
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Mar 21, 2020
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Media, etc. probably don't want us to compare those numbers now, as it would probably show that it's more scaremongering than anything else.

Yes, it's a new virus, and no, it probably won't kill more than any other previous influenza's/derivatives.

https://puu.sh/FnwEQ/2de2e5e02c.png Those numbers would probably send the world in a permanent state of panic if they started being at the top of news pages as well :p

I know they're estimates though of course, not 100% true numbers.
Well it is strange that I cannot find my post which was a request for some data. There was nothing offensive or anything at all in it. Just asking whether anybody knows where to get the data.

This is the link to the post, which now returns "The requested thread could not be found":


I posted that question once before and that went missing too. Am I missing something here? Did the post get moved to a different section?

MODS: Do you know what happened to the post? Thanks.


-------------------------
This is basically what the post was, but the exact wording is missing now:
he data I want is the daily figures for the number of people who died on that day where their cause of death was determined to be any strain of Influenza which is not the SARS-nCov-2 strain.

I.e. I want to construct a table with 3 columns:

COLUMN 1: Date

COLUMN 2: Number of COVID19 deaths due to SARS-nCov-2 infection

COLUMN3: Number of Influenza deaths which were not from infection with the strain called SARS-nCov-2

The table would look look like this (made up numbers, but I want to real numbers for this table):

01/01/2020,0,100
02/01/2020,5,100
03/01/2020,5,100
04/01/2020,50,100
05/01/2020,200,100
06/01/2020,1000,100
...

Plotting this daily data from, say, the 1st of Jan to the present date, over time, should show no decrease in column 3 (beyond what is seasonally expected) and an increase in column 2.

The total deaths from COLUMN2+COLUMN3 should increase dramatically.

Do you know where we could find the data for that?

It would be great to do it on a country by country basis. The US CDC does appear to keep really good records for COVID19 (although it is unclear whether this is people who died following presentation with clinical symptoms similar to what we expect from SARS-nCov-2, or people who died and whose bodies were confirmed in lab tests to have been suffering from a fatal viral load of SARS-nCov-2) but I cannot find anywhere on their site, or anywhere else, the data for column3.
 
Mar 22, 2020
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Comparing the flu to the new coronavirus is like comparing apples and oranges.

The new coronavirus has only been infecting humans for about a month while the flu has been infecting humans for more than half a year.

The flu wasn't even being reported on in its first month.

This coronavirus seems to be more infective than the flu and more deadly.
I think you got your facts right but your truths a bit wrong. We've been fighting the flu for at least 100 years, we have vaccines and a natural immunity to it now. The flu killed around 22k this season in the U.S. alone wheras covid has killed about 15k worldwide (so far).

This coronavirus is new which is, for the most part, why it is more infectious and more deadly. It is scary right now because there are too many unknowns. It has some more aggressive symptoms than the flu in SOME patients.

When this has all settled down, it will likely be added to a list of endemic diseases just like the flu -- this is what people mean when they say "it's like the flu". When the flu first broke out (about 100 years ago), it infected a half a billion people (we're at about 400k with covid19 right now) and killed about 50M (we're at about 15k right now). We suffer the outbreak and try to contain it as much as we can, then we develop vaccines, adapt, and move on with it now in our lives.

The rush right now has nothing to do with "oh **** we're all gonna die if we don't panic". Not at all. The rush is in trying to contain it as well as we can while trying to provide care for those that get infected. It's an issue of volume.

That's why some politicians and business people are moving so slow (not saying I agree, I'm just not angry about it), because those that are still thinking clearly are trying to balance doing what needs to be done with also trying to mitigate crashing our own economy over it. The last thing we need is to come out the other side of this pandemic (which we absolutely will) and into the next great depression where are that **** you hoarded will be absolutely worthless and gone and you being homeless and unemployed.

Should you take it seriously? Yes. Should you panic and hoard? No. Should you get pissed off at your friends and family that aren't doomsday prepping with you? FFS NO. Everyone needs to calm the **** down! But I digress...

Is it like comparing apples and oranges? To a doctor/scientist? Probably because classification is important. But to the common people? Actually, I think no. It's probably more like comparing ... I dunno ... Red Apples with Green Apples.
 
Mar 21, 2020
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This coronavirus is new which is, for the most part, why it is more infectious and more deadly.
Politely I ask, where is the evidence to back up these two claims?

It is already well established that an unknown number of cases of SARS-nCov-2 go undetected. In which case how can we know what the "death rate" is. By guessing how many are infected but undetected.

There are people who got tested because they knew someone who had it, they test positive, but are asymptomatic or have only mild symptoms... so how do we know how many of those there are who do not get tested? So we do not know the denominator for the "death rate"... so the "death rate" is useless.

What we need to look at is the actual number of actual people actually dying of SARS-nCov-2 compared to the numbers who are (currently, right now, presently, not based on past annual estimates) dying from Influenza which is not caused by SARS-nCov-2.

Unfortunately for us, the key data, which is the daily deaths from Influenza which is not due to SARS-nCov-2 for each day does not appear to be available.
 
Mar 22, 2020
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"Unclear", "working to determine", "still trying to understand". Don't do a comparison if you don't have the facts. This page was a complete waste of time.
I think very useful to know nothing is known.. so why are conclusions being drawn and drastic measures taken?
 
Mar 22, 2020
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Here's my long take on it: (short version, it's being hyped). Good to see warranted skepticism here.
First I can't resist the conspiracy question: why is this the first coronavirus to be listed as a pandemic by WHO? I wouldn't trust that outfit at all. Named Robert Mugabe as Goodwill Ambassador
Observe reasonable precautions for all communicable diseases. Respect the victims.

Voltaire: “Those Who Can Make You Believe Absurdities, Can Make You Commit Atrocities”

worldmeters https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/ on 3-21-2020:
CV cases 304,030*; deaths 12,965; recovered 94,669’ U.S. 348; California 27.


I’ve probably had the flu a dozen times in my 70+ years. All bad, but most memorable was the 1968 Hong Kong flu https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1968_flu_pandemic which killed 1 million people world-wide in 6 months. In the U.S. approximately 33,800 people died of the Hong Kong flu. https://www.sinobiological.com/research/virus/1968-influenza-pandemic-hong-kong-flu That toll is almost 100 times COVID-19’s current losses and more than all the deaths in the world caused by COVID-19. Nearly on par was the 1973 London flu which killed at least 1073 Americans, including 57 Californians the first week of 1973. https://www.nytimes.com/1973/01/13/archives/flu-now-exceeds-epidemic-level-but-disease-control-office-is.html
Flu and virus epidemics that earn a name, usually based on origin, are simply an exceptionally virulent strain of viruses among a greater number of viruses that collectively, routinely kill more people than the named virus. Hence, the 2017-18 “ordinary” flu season killed 60,000 plus Americans with no single virus strain winning the prize of a name.

That national toll is many times the losses inflicted by COVID-19. The California toll was double the current COVID19 toll in just one week. Both those outbreaks hit hard and fast. You barely heard of it and you were down. The 2017-18 flu season cut down over 60,000 Americans. I wasn’t around but, “… something like …50,000 influenzapneumonia deaths in the United States occurred during the epidemic of the winter of 1928-1929.” (American Journal of Public Health, February 1930). The Granddaddy of all was the 1918 Spanish Flu: “When it was all over, the Spanish flu killed and estimated 675,000 Americans, among a staggering 20 to 50 million people worldwide.” https://www.history.com/news/spanish-flu-pandemic-response-cities

COVID 19 is showing the usual retreat in locations it was first established, China and South Korea:
“South Korea has emerged as a sign of hope and a model to emulate. The country of 50 million appears to have greatly slowed its epidemic; it reported only 74 new cases today, down from 909 at its peak on 29 February. And it has done so without locking down entire cities or taking some of the other authoritarian measures that China employed.” https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2020/03/coronavirus-cases-have-dropped-sharply-south-korea-whats-secret-its-success

Instead of enthusiastically hyping the COVID 19 body count, why are we not informed of these past outbreaks that were far worse? Where is the historical context? Where are the health care professionals and scientists who must know these truths? Where are the responsible journalists to inform the public of these vivid contrasts that don’t square with the hysterical story we’re being told? Where is the responsible leadership to put things in perspective and offer calm? Where are the skeptics, the inquirers, the challengers?

A people that can be so easily mislead and panicked by absurdities is concerning. “...once you get used to accepting what you are told without questioning it, no matter how absurd, you lose the ability to understand what is good or bad.”
If people are willing to shut everything down and shelter in place, what else might they do at their master’s bidding? The elderly, irrespective of their individual health, have already been stigmatized as vulnerable, or, along with Asians, possible vectors. Hence these "types" are to be avoided or shunned. Who will be next, and to what may they be subjected?

The land of the free and the home of the brave? More like the land of the panicked and afraid.

I don’t have to wonder what life must be like in an insane asylum anymore. All I have to do is go outside.

*There is likely a much larger, but unknown number of unreported, mildly ill, asymptomatic carriers. IF 80% of a population is not sick enough to report or be counted, that would quadruple the number of CV cases to approximately 1,200,000 taking the mortality rate down to about 0.1%. All the information I’ve shared is readily available on the internet.
 
Mar 24, 2020
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I'm curious as to why more data becoming available could have an impact on the mortality rate? Thanks!
When the final count of people infected is tallied, there is some hope that the recovery rate will increase and the number of cases resulting in dealth will decrease. There is even a possiblity that when COVID19 runs its full course, that the total number of cases, including those cases that resulted in death, will show a lower numerical count that most previous years of Flu. At this point, it is too early and there are too many unknowns involved to present a full picture for a fair comparison.
 
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Mar 24, 2020
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You realize this study was conducted on hospitalized patients, right? What percentage of hospitalized flu patients do you think have complications like pneumonia, sepsis, shock, etc? I'm a physician who takes care of hospitalized patients, including many flu patients, every year and the answer is pretty much all of them--otherwise they wouldn't have been admitted to the hospital.

With that said, current data does suggest that this nCoV-19 is more infectious and far deadlier than the flu. However, current data is limited in many ways and both its infectivity and especially its mortality rate is likely to drop significantly with more data.

The bottom line is, should we take this seriously? Yes? Should we be scared about it and let it affect our lives any more than be more careful of our hygiene and avoid contact with overtly sick people? No.
Obviously dingyibvs was wrong on the second point. What's changed? Well the Chinese were telling everyone prior to Feb 12 how infectious the SARS-CoV-2 is, that it spreads during the incubation period, that the incubation period is 14-24 days long, and that the virus is aerosolized (both oral to oral, and fecal to oral). That should tell us to expect a spike in cases that would exceed healthcare resources. Yet dingyibvs was certain that we shouldn't panic.
Now, a month and half has shown us how a lack of test kits, a lack of PPE and ventilators and hospital beds, can put us at risk with a healthcare system limited in resources against a spike in cases. Had we panicked in mid February we might have started sooner acquiring PPE and ventilators we're going to need.
 
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Mar 28, 2020
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The article says, " Preliminary studies have estimated an R0 value for the new coronavirus to be between 2 and 3, according to the JAMA review study published Feb. 28. This means each infected person has spread the virus to an average of 2 to 3 people. It's important to note that R0 is not necessarily a constant number."

That last sentence is correct, but it is clear that R0 is much greater than 2 to 3, unless extreme lock-down measures are imposed.

Based on the fact that it takes about two weeks before the effects of a lock-down are apparent in the statistics, it seems that the mean time between when someone is infected and when he infects most of the other people who he will ultimately infect must be at least ten days. But based on the fact that it is often only 3-5 days from when someone shows symptoms to when his spouse shows symptoms, we know that secondary infections become possible in only a few days. That tells us that infected people start shedding viruses within a few days, though they're undoubtedly much more infectious with the onset of coughing and sneezing.

If a test could detect the disease substantially BEFORE an infected person begins infecting other people, then we would only have to test the full population twice to completely stop the spread of the disease. That's too much to hope for, but if a test can detect the disease before the infected person has caused MOST of the secondary infections which he would otherwise cause, then the test can still do a lot of good. It will be necessary to test the entire population repeatedly, but the first test of the entire population would immediately & drastically slash the reinfection rate.

The key to stopping progression of an epidemic is to reduce reinfection rate R0 below 1.0 reinfections per infected person. If the typical reinfection rate with moderate "social distancing" precautions is R0=10 first-generation reinfections (which is probably about right), with reinfections (typically of immediate family) beginning at 3 days but peaking at 10 days (which is also probably about right), that implies a daily case increase of about 26%, which is what we're seeing (1.26^10= 10, and 1.26^3=2). That's presumably why we're seeing case numbers in newly infected populations double about every three days, when only moderate social distancing is employed.

With those assumptions, a test of the entire population which detects infections before 90% of reinfections have occurred would enable us to knock R0 down to 1, but only if the tests are done very frequently. However, if the test can detect an infection before 95% or 98% of reinfections occur, then you can space out the re-tests and still reduce R0 to below 1.

That sounds expensive, until you do the arithmetic. Taking the USA as an example, if the cost of a test is generously estimated to be $100, we could test the entire U.S. population five times for one-thirteenth of the cost of the just-passed $2.2 trillion "coronavirus stimulus" bill, if we had enough testing capability.
 
Mar 25, 2020
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The coronavirus has the potential to be much worse than flus:

- The coronavirus spreads much more readily in the population than flus.

- Assuming that everyone who needs hospital care can get it, the mortality rate for infected people is at least 5x higher than for flus.

- The percentage of infected people who need hospital care is about 10x (or more) than flus (hence hospitals already being overloaded). Overloading of hospitals can dramatically increase the mortality rate.

- The net effect of all of these factors is that mortality in the US due to the coronavirus is estimated by experts to be possibly hundreds of thousands, maybe over a million, over the next year. That's many times worse than flus.

Simple math for a bad scenario with overloaded hospitals: 330 million people in the US x 50% infected x 2% mortality rate = 3.3 million fatalities. That's equal to more than 50 flu seasons in one year. If you think something like this is impossible, keep in mind that we're dealing with an exponential growth process where the number of cases can increase by a factor of 10 roughly every two weeks, and we're still in an early phase of this process, since well under 1% of the US population has been infected so far. If we assume 100K people infected so far, the number could be 1 million in two weeks, 10 million a month from now, and 100 million six weeks from now.
 
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Mar 29, 2020
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You realize this study was conducted on hospitalized patients, right? What percentage of hospitalized flu patients do you think have complications like pneumonia, sepsis, shock, etc? I'm a physician who takes care of hospitalized patients, including many flu patients, every year and the answer is pretty much all of them--otherwise they wouldn't have been admitted to the hospital.

With that said, current data does suggest that this nCoV-19 is more infectious and far deadlier than the flu. However, current data is limited in many ways and both its infectivity and especially its mortality rate is likely to drop significantly with more data.

The bottom line is, should we take this seriously? Yes? Should we be scared about it and let it affect our lives any more than be more careful of our hygiene and avoid contact with overtly sick people? No.
Well said and thank you for the pragmatic common sense in lieu of the fear based hysteria we are currently witnessing.
 
Mar 29, 2020
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"Unclear", "working to determine", "still trying to understand". Don't do a comparison if you don't have the facts. This page was a complete waste of time.
Would prefer the sensationalized statements of the mainstream media who use absolutes such as "confirmed", "does", "certainly", etc when they have no verifiable data to base said use of words upon? This article uses words appropriately and I appreciate their approach to as yet unverifiable data due to a simple lack of a a large enough data set.

The fact the mainstream media has sensationalized this still widely unknown virus has led to the complete and absolute collapse of society and the global decimation of economies.

The only fact at this moment is fear has been the control mechanism...not the virus.
 
Mar 30, 2020
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It's more deadly and more contagious than seasonal flu, and nothing can stop it. We're all going to get it, or its vaccine. Everything you read is just your government telling you that you're outta luck.
When Spanish Flu first came out, it infected about a Third of the entire world, and killed around 20M people. Today the Spanish Flu is known as Influenza. The body adapts to these virus' and mothers milk passes these antibodies to their kids, protecting them from future infections. As an example, a friend of mine had 2 kids, less than a year apart. The first she never breastfed but the second one she did. The second one is MUCH healthier, rarely gets sick and is much smarter. The first one, ALWAYS succumbs to the latest flu for the season. I feel sorry for the kid once she's older.
 
Mar 30, 2020
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I have a similar observation / question. I completely understand how hand-washing, cleaning surfaces, avoiding touching hands to face help slow the spread of COVID-19 and Seasonal Flu. What I cannot understand is why so much attention is being paid to avoiding large gatherings in order to slow the spread of Coronavirus, yet rarely, if ever, applied similarly to the Seasonal Flu. Is the Seasonal Flu not also spread more widely when people are in close proximity to one another?
The only reason the seasonal flu isn't as contagious as COVID-19 is because most of us haven't been exposed to it yet. If you have Influenza and I already had it a few years ago or I got the antibodies from mothers milk, you're coming into contact with me doesn't really negatively impact me, because my body already knows how to fight it.
 
Mar 25, 2020
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Would prefer the sensationalized statements of the mainstream media who use absolutes such as "confirmed", "does", "certainly", etc when they have no verifiable data to base said use of words upon? This article uses words appropriately and I appreciate their approach to as yet unverifiable data due to a simple lack of a a large enough data set.

The fact the mainstream media has sensationalized this still widely unknown virus has led to the complete and absolute collapse of society and the global decimation of economies.

The only fact at this moment is fear has been the control mechanism...not the virus.
Check back in a month from now. I predict that you'll find that there wasn't enough fear and we under-reacted. Exponential growth sneaks up on you and then explodes. We're just now beginning the unfolding explosion.
 
Mar 30, 2020
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How does the new coronavirus compare with the seasonal flu, and which should you most worry about?

How does the new coronavirus compare with the flu? : Read more
How about a little perspective. Coronavirus has turned into one big Reality TV show in the grand scheme with regards to deaths, diseases, illness. The Spanish Flu and SARs faded away with the flu season and it is likely COVID-19 will do the same. I may be wrong on this, but the odds are higher that I will be correct. COVID-19 will pass and a new Coronavirus will make its debut, nothing can prevent this from happening.

Below are things that are preventable......

from the CDC in 2019
  • Heart disease: 647,457
  • Cancer: 599,108
  • Accidents (unintentional injuries): 169,936
  • Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 160,201
  • Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 146,383
  • Alzheimer’s disease: 121,404
  • Diabetes: 83,564
  • Influenza and pneumonia: 55,672
  • Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis: 50,633
  • Intentional self-harm (suicide): 47,173
Additional Bonus.... here are just a few preventable death statistics.

* An estimated 300,000 deaths in the US from OBESITY. The message here is let he fat people die...

* Nationally, about 12 people are killed with guns for every 100,000 US residents. That is about 40,000 deaths.

* An estimated 45,000 annually from SUICIDE. That number will go up from the aftermath of Coronavirus.

From the World Health Organization....

  • n 2018 an estimated 6.2 million children and adolescents under the age of 15 years died, mostly from preventable causes. Of these deaths, 5.3 million occurred in the first 5 years, with almost half of these in the first month of life.
  • Leading causes of death in children under-5 years are preterm birth complications, pneumonia, birth asphyxia, congenital anomalies, diarrhoea and malaria. Nearly half of these deaths are in newborns.
  • More than half of these early child deaths are preventable or can be treated with simple, affordable interventions including immunization, adequate nutrition, safe water and food and appropriate care by a trained health provider when needed.
  • Children in sub-Saharan Africa are more than 15 times more likely to die before the age of 5 than children in high income countries.
 

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