Coronavirus cases have been increasing lately and the country is in the middle of another lockdown.
However, as winter approaches, there will be many people who may be confused about the real difference between Covid-19 and the flu.
We all hear about coronavirus all the time and how it is so deadly – but what makes the difference and what about those who foolishly claim “it’s no worse than the flu”?
Dr. Justin Varney, Birmingham Public Health Director, told BirminghamLive the difference. On a special Facebook Live broadcast, he said, “It’s definitely not the flu. It’s a different type of organism.
“When you look at it under a microscope, it just looks very different.
“But it’s different. Influenza is a respiratory disease, and people in particular get very sick because they have difficulty breathing and can get fluids into your lungs when they have severe flu, and we call it pneumonia.
“Coronavirus does that, but it does other things too. It seems to break people’s clotting process so they get blood clots.
“It gives people a high fever too, and the flu doesn’t necessarily do that.”
Here are four more ways Covid-19 differs from seasonal flu: with a little help from the mirror.
Scientists have not yet seen human immunity to Covid-19
We don’t have a vaccine for Covid-19 yet, while the NHS offers a new flu shot every year that combats the latest seasonal strain.
Scientists say Covid is more common than seasonal flu – and our lack of immunity is a major factor.
Airborne virus expert Professor Linsey Marr, who lectures civil and environmental engineering at Virginia Tech University, warns of a lack of Covid-19 immunity in populations, leading to so-called “supers-spreader” events leads.
Prof. Marr declared Huffington Post How more people in a certain room get sick with the coronavirus than with the flu is not due to the nature of the virus itself, but to the lack of immunity of the population.
As we already know, the race for a vaccine against Covid-19 is vital if we are to fight this virus in the here and now – and in the years to come, as we do with seasonal flu.
Some people who carry Covid-19 are “asymptomatic” and show no symptoms
Covid-19 and the flu share several symptoms, including a high temperature and a cough.
Both could see that you had a dry cough and with Covid the cough would stop.
While people with the flu often experience headaches and loss of appetite.
However, early on in the pandemic, scientists discovered that some people can catch and carry Covid-19 without showing symptoms.
And that’s another reason the coronavirus is spreading further and faster than the seasonal flu.
If someone has no idea they have the virus – because there are no signs of symptoms – they are not going to self-isolate or avoid people, which means they are inadvertently spreading it.
Some scientists have even suggested that around 40 to 50 percent of people who catch Covid-19 are asymptomatic.
There are some cases of flu where people have shown no symptoms, but one key difference is that the “incubation period” for Covid-19 is longer.
Prof. Marr explained that the incubation period – the time between exposure to a virus and symptoms appearing or not – with Covid is up to 14 days, while people with flu tend to show symptoms within three days.
This means that the window for the flu to spread to others and / or unintentionally is much shorter.
The flu “viral load” – the amount of a virus in the body fluid – does not begin until symptoms are visible.
With Covid-19, however, this can take up to fourteen days.
Higher virus spread
Prof. Marr outlined how someone who has seasonal flu spreads it to 1.3 other people on average.
With the corona virus, however, this virus spread is almost twice as high – to 2.5 people.
An example of a super-spreader event was the White House rose garden when leading U.S. scientist Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergies and Infectious Diseases, noted that at least 11 people discovered the bug.
Donald Trump’s team is known to have failed to wear masks during the pandemic, and at the White House event in September we saw Covid-19 spread to more than 10 people in one event.
Dr. Fauci said at the time, “We had a super-spreader event at the White House, and it was in a situation where people were huddled together and not wearing masks.”
And Prof. Marr confirms this, highlighting how successful social distancing and proper use of face coverings are making it difficult for Covid to spread at a rate of 2.5.
Covid transmission is different in children than in adults
Top Coffins at King’s College, London, UK found that children have different Covid symptoms compared to adults, proving other studies suggesting that transmission of the virus is different in children and adults.
And the World Health Organization previously said, “Children are major drivers of influenza virus transmission in the community.”
It added, “For the Covid-19 virus, initial data shows that children are less affected than adults and that clinical attack rates are low in the 0-19 age group.
“Further preliminary data from household transmission studies in China suggest that children of adults are infected, not the other way around.”
The WHO also recalled that in relation to seasonal flu, children are known to be at greater risk of developing serious infections.
Children under 6 months of age are at highest risk of serious flu complications because their immune systems are less developed, more fragile and they are too young to get the flu shot.
Like Covid, pregnant women, the elderly and people with pre-existing health conditions are at greater risk from the flu.
But at least for children with the coronavirus, the children seem to be fine, as the main risk is in the elderly and people with pre-existing health conditions.
The WHO added, “For Covid-19, our current understanding is that age and underlying conditions increase the risk of serious infections.”