COVID Death Risk Is 3.5 Times That of Influenza

MONDAY, February 15, 2021 (HealthDay News) – The risk of death from COVID-19 is more than triple that of seasonal flu, according to Canadian researchers.

Their results are similar to those of recent studies conducted in the United States and France. The study was published on February 10 in the Journal of the Canadian Medical Association.

“We can now definitively state that COVID-19 is much more serious than seasonal flu,” said study author Dr. Amol Verma, a researcher at the University of Toronto’s School of Public Health. .

“Patients admitted to hospital in Ontario with COVID-19 had a 3.5 times higher risk of death, 1.5 times higher ICU use and 1.5 times hospital stays longer than patients admitted for influenza, ”he said in a press release. These patients were also more likely to be put on a ventilator.

Verma’s team compared influenza-related and COVID-related hospitalizations between November 1, 2019 and June 30, 2020 at seven hospitals in Toronto and around Mississauga. Both have large populations and high rates of COVID infection.

During the study period, there were 783 influenza hospitalizations in 763 patients and 1,027 COVID hospitalizations in 972 patients. This represented almost a quarter of all COVID-related hospitalizations across the province of Ontario during that time.

About 1 in 5 COVID patients was under the age of 50 and this age group accounted for nearly 1 in 4 intensive care hospitalizations.

While many people believe that COVID-19 primarily affects older people, “it can cause very serious illnesses in young adults as well,” Verma said.

He noted that adults under the age of 50 accounted for 20% of COVID-related hospitalizations during the first wave of the pandemic. Nearly one in 3 adults under the age of 50 required intensive care and nearly one in 10 had to be readmitted to hospital after discharge, according to the study.

It is true, Verma added, that COVID hits older people the hardest.

“We have found that among adults over 75 years of age hospitalized with COVID-19, nearly 40% have died in hospital,” he said.

The researchers said COVID could be much more dangerous than the flu because people have lower levels of immunity to the novel coronavirus than to the seasonal flu. Influenza infections and previous vaccinations have helped people strengthen themselves against the disease.

“Hopefully the severity of COVID-19 will decrease over time as people are vaccinated against the virus and more effective treatments are identified. There is, unfortunately, also the possibility that variants of the virus are even more serious. “said Verma.

More information

The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on COVID-19.

SOURCE: Journal of the Canadian Medical Association, press release, February 10, 2021

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