Science

Covid-19 is 3.5 times deadlier than influenza: Study

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on February 12, 2021 Published on February 12, 2021

The study, published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ), compared hospitalisations for influenza between November 1, 2019, and June 30, 2020

A new study conducted by researchers in Canada indicated that the Coronavirus is more deadly than the flu, with a death risk 3.5 times higher than influenza.

The study, published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ), compared hospitalisations for influenza between November 1, 2019, and June 30, 2020, in seven large hospitals in Toronto and Mississauga.

The study included all patients admitted to medical services or intensive care units (ICUs) for influenza or Covid-19. In total, during that period, there were 783 hospitalisations for flu in 763 unique patients, compared to 1,027 hospitalizations for Covid-19 in 972 unique patients.

“We can now say definitively that Covid-19 is much more severe than seasonal influenza,” stated author Dr. Amol Verma, St. Michael’s Hospital, Unity Health Toronto, and the University of Toronto.

He added: “Patients admitted to hospital in Ontario with Covid-19 had a 3.5 times greater risk of death, 1.5 times greater use of the ICU, and 1.5 times longer hospital stays than patients admitted with influenza.”

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The study further stated that older people actually are not the only ones affected by severe forms of the Coronavirus infection. The research observed that people younger than 50 accounted for 24 per cent of ICU admissions.

“Many people believe that Covid-19 mainly affects older people. It is true that Covid-19 affects older adults most severely. We found that among adults over 75 years who were hospitalised with Covid-19, nearly 40 per cent died in hospital,” Verma stated.

“But it can also cause very serious illness in younger adults. Adults under 50 accounted for 20 per cent of all Covid-19 hospitalisations in the first wave of the pandemic. Nearly 1 in 3 adults younger than 50 hospitalised with Covid-19 required intensive care, and nearly 1 in 10 required unplanned readmission to hospital after discharge,” he further noted.

The researchers explained this phenomenon saying that beyond the severity of the illness, people currently have low levels of immunity against Covid-19 compared to influenza.

“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 could be even more severe,” the study’s lead author concluded.

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Published on February 12, 2021
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