According to a study published in the journal Lancet Respiratory Medicine, the coronavirus death rate is three times higher than the prevailing death rate during the peak of the flu season in 2018-19.
The study, conducted by researchers in France, found that nearly double the number of people were hospitalized with Covid-19 at the height of the pandemic, compared with the flu in 2018-19.
For the study, the researchers compared 89,530 Covid-19 patients hospitalized in France for two months during the spring. Of those, 45,819 were admitted for flu over three months during the 2018-19 seasonal flu epidemic.
Among those studied, 15,104 (16.9%) patients with Covid-19 died compared to 2,640 (5.8%) deaths among patients with influenza. Over 16% of Covid-19 patients also experienced severe illness, which required intensive care, compared with 10.8% of those who suffered from the flu.
Catherine Quantin, of the University Hospital of Dijon in France, said in a statement: “Our study is the largest to date to compare the two diseases and confirms that Covid-19 is much more serious than the flu. The finding that the death rate of Covid-19 was three times higher than that of seasonal flu is particularly surprising when you recall that the 2018/2019 flu season was the worst in France in the last five years in terms of death toll. “.
The study also stated that people develop some degree of immunity to the flu, either as a result of a previous infection or vaccination. This is also the reason why infection can lead to fewer cases of hospitalization.
While in the case of Covid-19 it is a new virus and very few people would be expected to have previous immunity against it.
The study also found that patients with Covid-19 were twice as likely to require invasive mechanical ventilation during inpatient treatment than those suffering from the flu.
The report mentioned that approximately 9.7% of patients with Covid-19 required mechanical ventilation, compared with only 4% of patients with influenza. In particular, the average length of stay for patients with Covid-19 in intensive care units was almost double that of patients with seasonal flu.
The data also revealed that more than one in four patients with Covid-19 experienced acute respiratory failure, in which the lungs are unable to pump oxygen around the body, compared to less than one in five patients with the flu.
The Lancet study revealed that fewer children under the age of 18 have been hospitalized with Covid-19, compared with the flu. But a greater percentage of patients with Covid-19 who were under the age of five needed intensive care support, compared to those with the flu.
The mortality rate among hospitalized Covid-19 patients aged 11-17 appeared to be ten times higher than those with influenza.
“Taken together, our results indicate that Covid-19 is much more serious than seasonal flu. At a time when no treatment has been shown to be effective in preventing serious illness in Covid-19 patients, this study highlights the importance of all physical prevention measures and highlights the importance of effective vaccines, “said Pascale Tubert. -Bitter, research director at the Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale (Inserm).