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Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Think COVID is becoming like the flu? Here’s How Bad It Still Is

Bill Gates, billionaire Microsoft founder and philanthropist who warned the world was not prepared for a pandemic, last week shared a new prediction on the fate of COVID-19: “Once an Omicron passes through a country, Then the rest of the year should see far fewer cases, so COVID can be treated more like the seasonal flu.”

Right now, it’s hard to imagine.

With the U.S. reporting more than 750,000 new cases and nearly 2,000 deaths a day from the super-infectious Omicron variant, and with hospitals still in the worst-case scenario in many parts of the country, it’s hard to see that we What day can we compare COVID with influenza.

“We have learned to live and live with influenza,” said Warner Green, a virologist at the Gladstone Institutes in San Francisco. “Hopefully we can get there with COVID, but we’re not there yet.”

There’s just no comparison.

A closer look at the numbers two years into the pandemic shows two unmistakable paths: COVID killed more than eight times as many Americans in 2021 as the flu killed in the 2017-18 season, in more than a decade. worst. And since the SARS-CoV-2 virus has wreaked havoc around the world, influenza deaths in the US have dropped by more than 90% as humanity wanes.

Studies indicate that Omicron causes milder illness than earlier COVID variants, but experts and early data again say there’s little question: “Is Omicron more lethal than the flu,” says Infectious Diseases and Infectious Diseases at UC Berkeley. John Swartzberg, clinical professor of vaccinology, said.

“End of story,” agreed UCSF infectious disease specialist George Rutherford.

For example, even though it’s still too early to get a full picture of the death toll from the ongoing Omicron surge, a look at the last week of December 2021, as the holiday spike exploded, is telling.

More than 5,000 people died of COVID across the US in the last week of 2021. This is more than three times the number of people – 1,626 – who succumbed to influenza during the deadliest week of the dreaded 2017-18 flu season. And since the coronavirus arrived in 2020, there have been only two weeks out of the more than 100 weeks of the pandemic when fewer than 1,600 people died from COVID.

Another shocking comparison: About 52,000 people died during that 2017-18 flu season. During the typical influenza years, the virus claims about half of the lives of many people. But at its peak last January, the coronavirus claimed more than 25,000 lives in the US in one week – the equivalent of the total death toll for the entire average flu season.

How about hospitalization? Influenza is no match for COVID, which is affecting our medical system in ways previously unseen.

According to estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), at least 41 million people get sick from the flu during inclement weather. In 2017-18, about 710,000 people were hospitalized for influenza. In 2021, the US recorded nearly 35 million COVID cases – and more than 2.5 million hospitalizations.

During the pandemic, flu deaths have decreased. Some of the sharp decline is likely from the changes brought on by the pandemic. While California, and especially other parts of the country, is not in lockdown and sheltered as of March 2020, more people are wearing masks, working remotely and restricting travel and indoor dining in crowded places. Huh. Despite those measures the more contagious COVID has flourished – but the flu, not so much.

“I think everyone is becoming a lot more cautious about COVID than they were before,” Swartzberg said. “I think it’s playing a major role.”

Schools, especially in California, also require masking and are in and out of distance learning — disrupting the classroom environment where the flu typically spreads, Rutherford said.

There is also the possibility, Swartzberg said, that “sadly, COVID has already excluded those most likely to die from influenza.”

Still, signs of a rebound in flu deaths are beginning to emerge – although they are hard to imagine with COVID largely because the number of deaths is so different. In December, monthly flu deaths in the US topped 200 for the first time since the pandemic began.

“We can see the numbers going up here” this season, Swartzberg said.

World Nation News Deskhttps://www.worldnationnews.com
World Nation News is a digital news portal website. Which provides important and latest breaking news updates to our audience in an effective and efficient ways, like world’s top stories, entertainment, sports, technology and much more news.
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