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Is COVID-19 worse than the flu? After five months, the answer is becoming clearer

While infection rates are similar, the death rate from COVID-19 is significantly higher than the flu, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Johns Hopkins.

Over 150 days ago, doctors diagnosed the first confirmed COVID-19 case in the United States.

That was on January 20, 2020.

Since that date, an estimated 2,305,950 COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in the United States.

Additionally, an estimated 120,271 people have died from the virus, according to Johns Hopkins University

Think about that -- more than two million infections and 120,000 deaths in just five months.

How do the first five months of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States compare to our yearly flu season?

Let’s look at data from the Centers for Disease Control.

According to the CDC, during the 2018-2019 influenza season (October 2018 – February 2019), an estimated 35.5 million people got sick. 

Even though the number of coronavirus infections is significantly lower over a five-month span, coronavirus is estimated to be equal to or more infectious than the flu -- for right now. The reason why? Testing. The infection rate for coronavirus likely could increase as states continue to catch up on testing demand and discover more cases.

Still, there is evidence that COVID-19 is a much more dangerous virus than the flu. Here’s proof.

According to the CDC's data, an estimated 34,200 people died from the flu during the five months of the 2018-2019 flu season.

In the five months since the first COVID-19 case in the United States, 120,271 people have died. That’s a 252% difference.

Yes, there is a treatment for the flu, which helps reduce the death rate. As of now, there is no therapeutic treatment for COVID-19, which adds to its severity.

There are three things that can help to prevent the spread of COVID-19 (and the flu, actually):

  1. Wash your hands.
  2. Wear a mask.
  3. Don't touch your face.

During a news conference Monday, Texas Governor Greg Abbott encouraged people to wear a mask or other face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

"COVID 19 is now spreading at an unacceptable rate in Texas,” Governor Abbott said. 

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