Resource on COVID-19 and Influenza from Johns Hopkins Medicine

Similarities of COVID-19 and Flu:

o Both flu and COVID-19 cause fever, cough, body aches, fatigue; sometimes vomiting and diarrhea

o Can be mild or severe, even fatal in rare cases

o Can result in pneumonia

o Both flu and COVID-19 can be spread from person to person through droplets in the air from an infected person coughing, sneezing or talking

o A possible difference: COVID-19 might be spread through the airborne route (see details below under Differences)

o Flu can be spread by an infected person for several days before their symptoms appear, and COVID-19 is believed to be spread in the same manner, but we don’t yet know for sure.

o Neither virus is treatable with antibiotics, which only work on bacterial infections

o Both may be treated by addressing symptoms, such as reducing fever; severe cases may require hospitalization and support such as mechanical ventilation

o Both flu and COVID – 19 may be prevented by frequent, thorough hand washing, coughing into the crook of your elbow, staying home when sick and limiting contact with people who are infected.

 

Differences:

o COVID-19: Caused by one virus, the novel 2019 coronavirus, now called severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, or SARS-CoV-2.
o Flu: Caused by any of several different types and strains of influenza viruses.

o Both flu and COVID-19 can be spread from person to person through droplets in the air from an infected person coughing, sneezing or talking.

o A possible difference: COVID-19 might be spread through the airborne route

o Flu can be spread by an infected person for several days before their symptoms appear, and COVID-19 is believed to be spread in the same manner, but we don’t yet know for sure.

o COVID-19: Antiviral medications are currently being tested to see if they can address symptoms.
o Flu: Antiviral medications can address symptoms and sometimes shorten the duration of the illness.

o COVID-19: No vaccine is available at this time, though development of one is in progress.

o Flu: A vaccine is available and effective to prevent some of the most dangerous types or to reduce the severity of the flu.

o COVID-19: Approximately 89,198 cases worldwide; 86 cases in the U.S. as of March 2, 2020.
o Flu: Estimated 1 billion cases worldwide; 9.3 million to 45 million cases in the U.S. per year.

o COVID-19: Approximately 3,048 deaths reported worldwide; 2 deaths in the U.S., as of March 2, 2020.

o Flu: 291,000 to 646,000 deaths worldwide; 12,000 to 61,000 deaths in the U.S. per year. Source: Source: Johns Hopkins Medicine

X