Coronavirus Disease vs the Flu (influenza)

Jboss March 28, 2020

Coronavirus Disease vs the Flu (influenza)

Coronavirus Disease vs the Flu (influenza)

Coronavirus disease vs the flu- Influenza (the flu) and Coronavirus disease, COVID-19, are both infectious respiratory illnesses. Although the symptoms of COVID-19 and the flu may look similar, but the two diseases are caused by different viruses.

Similarities: COVID-19 and the Flu


  • Both cause flu like symptoms like fever, cough, body aches and fatigue; sometimes diarrhoea and vomiting.
  • May be mild or severe, even fatal in rare cases.
  • Both can result in pneumonia.


  • Both can be spread from person to person via air droplets from an infected person coughing, sneezing or talking.
  • A possible difference: Coronavirus disease, COVID-19 might be spread through the airborne route (see details below under Differences).
  • Both may show symptoms after several days of exposure to an infected person.


  • None of the virus can be treated using antibiotics, which only work on bacterial infections.
  • Both are treated by addressing symptoms, such as reducing fever. Severe cases may require hospitalization and support such as mechanical ventilation.


Both 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. Social distancing can limit the spread of COVID-19 in communities.

Differences: COVID-19 and the Flu


COVID-19: Caused by one virus, the new 2019 coronavirus, also called severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, or SARS-CoV-2.

Flu: Caused by any of the different types and strains of influenza viruses.


While both COVID-19 and the flu may be transmitted in similar ways, there’s also a possible difference that COVID-19 might be spread through the airborne route, which means even after the I’ll person is no longer there, the tiny droplets remaining in the air could cause disease in others.

Antiviral Medications

COVID-19: Antiviral medications and other therapies are still being tested to see if they can arrest the symptoms.

Flu: Antiviral medications not only address the symptoms it sometimes shorten the duration of the illness.


COVID-19: No vaccine is available at this time, though its development is still in progress.

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


COVID-19: Approximately 598,200 cases worldwide; 104,850 cases in the U.S. and 81 cases in Nigeria as of Mar. 28, 2020.*

Flu: Estimated 1 billion cases worldwide, these epidemics are estimated to result in about 3 to 5 million severe illness, and about 300,000 to 500,000 respiratory deaths yearly.


COVID-19: Approximately 27,862 deaths reported globally; 1,704 deaths in the U.S., and 1 death in Nigeria as of Mar. 28, 2020.*

Flu: 291,000 to 646,000 deaths globally; 12,000 to 61,000 deaths in the U.S. annually.

The COVID-19 pandemic is changing rapidly and because this disease is caused by a new virus, people do not have immunity against it, and a vaccine may be many months away.

Doctors and researchers are working on estimating the fatality rate of COVID-19, but at present, it is thought to be higher than that of most strains of the flu.