Comparing coronavirus to the flu and other respiratory illnesses

Coronavirus Outbreak
Epidemiological Comparison of Respiratory Viral Infections

Epidemiological Comparison of Respiratory Viral Infections (Akiko Iwasaki / Yale University / BioRender)

NEW HAVEN, Ct. (NEWS10) — As coronavirus fever sweeps households across the Capital Region, a Yale University School of Medicine professor created a simple infographic comparing COVID-19 to other respiratory infections.

The chart, by biologist Dr. Akiko Iwasaki, stacks the coronavirus up against SARS, MERS, and the flu. The most striking comparison is between COVID-19 and the influenza virus, which kills far more in the U.S. and around the world each year than coronavirus has so far.

Although the chart, made in BioRender, has a blind spot for ongoing coronavirus cases, numbers from the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention can fill in some blanks.

COVID-19 infections

  • Global infected: 167,511
  • U.S. infected: 3,487
  • U.S. deaths: 68

Even with a flu shot, the CDC estimates that 36 million Americans have come down with influenza and 22,000 died from it this flu season.


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