Is the coronavirus more deadly than other viruses that have emerged in recent years?

Mudassir Ali
Mar 04, 2020 11:04 AM 0 Answers
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Mudassir Ali
- Mar 04, 2020 11:04 AM

Originally Answered: Is the coronavirus more deadly than other viruses that have emerged in recent years?


Is the coronavirus more deadly than other viruses that have emerged in recent years?

It is certainly the most deadly coronavirus so far, nearly double the fatalities of SARS and MERS combined, and I think it is very likely it will triple, or worse before it’s done.

But Influenza viruses can also be deadly. There are four kinds, A,B, C and D, and it seems the type A are the deadliest. These are your H1N1 swine flu, et al.

I’ve been trying to understand why people aren’t so worried about influenza; these viruses kill hundreds of thousands of people every year; far more than any coronavirus. Why isn’t there such panic about that?

I’m still not sure, but I have some ideas.

Every year, most people get a flu. Or a cold (most folk don’t seem to know the difference). It is so common.
Most flu viruses are not very severe. We get a bit sick, maybe don’t even take time off work. Pharmacies are well stocked with goodies to help us just soldier on.
Coronavirus outbreaks are far rarer. It’s an unknown, and of just 7 types known to us, 3 are deadly. MERS is still killing people, incidentally.
We have flu vaccines. No such safe guard is known for coronavirus.
The deadly type A influenza viruses have been bothering us for a long time. Some folk even have immunity from decades ago to a slightly different strain running around more recently.

People have a lot more fear of the unknown; Heart disease kills 647,000 Americans every year, but no one is panicking about that. Flu just seems benign to us. But a new coronavirus is far, far less common. And it seems to start in Asia, making it seem exotic and thus more of a threat.

There is one thing really different. COVID-19 can incubate up to 14 days before symptoms are shown, and we’ve seen multiple clear cases by now where people have infected others whilst asymptomatic.

Influenza shows symptoms in about 2 days, and I don’t think there are any cases of infection from asymptomatic people. Even if there are; 2 days to spread the influenza unawares, versus 14 days with COVD-19. Remembering that each day exponentially increases the potential infection base, and you realize those extra days is a huge difference where control and containment are concerned.

When we talk about the death toll for influenza, it is a collated toll from ALL cases of influenza; it is not, I think, one virus.

Mudassir Ali
- Mar 04, 2020 11:05 AM

Better to answer this question with actual DATA and statistics from the records of all infected cases.:

Typical Symptoms

COVID-19 typically causes flu-like symptoms including a fever and cough.

In some patients – particularly the elderly and others with other chronic health conditions – these symptoms can develop into pneumonia, with chest tightness, chest pain, and shortness of breath.

It seems to start with a fever, followed by a dry cough.

After a week, it can lead to shortness of breath, with about 20% of patients requiring hospital treatment.

Notably, the COVID-19 infection rarely seems to cause a runny nose, sneezing, or sore throat (these symptoms have been observed in only about 5% of patients). Sore throat, sneezing,and stuffy nose are most often signs of a cold.


80.9% of infections are mild (with flu-like symptoms) and can recover at home.
13.8% are severe, developing severe diseases including pneumonia and shortness of breath.
4.7% as critical and can include: respiratory failure, septic shock, and multi-organ failure.
in about 2% of reported cases the virus is fatal.
Risk of death increases the older you are.
Relatively few cases are seen among children.

Pre-existing illnesses that put patients at higher risk:

cardiovascular disease
chronic respiratory disease

Examples of possible development of symptoms (from actual cases)

A man in his 40s in Japan:

Day #1: malaise and muscle pain
later diagnosed with pneumonia

A man in his 60s in Japan:

Day #1: initial symptoms of low-grade fever and sore throat.

A man in his 40s in Japan:

Day #1: chills, sweating and malaise
Day #4: fever, muscle pain and cough

A woman in her 70s, in Japan:

Day #1: 38° fever for a few minutes
Day #2-3: went on a bus tour
Day #5: visited a medical institution
Day #6: showed symptoms of pneumonia.

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