A common misconception is that COVID-19 is mild, its “just a flu”. Although many cases of COVID are mild or asymptomatic, serious disease and death do happen in higher numbers than many realize.
First of all, Influenza is actually quite serious and can be deadly. Anyone who has had it will tell you they feel lousy, much worse than the “common cold”. For the 2019-2020 United States influenza season (the last one before COVID), there were 35 million cases of influenza, 491,000 hospitalizations, and about 34,000 deaths. That’s a 1.5% hospitalization rate and 0.09% death rate across all ages.
COVID has much higher rates of severe illness than Influenza. According to the CDC, there have been about 35 million cases of COVID in the United States. There have been about 2.3 million hospitalizations (7%) and just over 600,000 deaths (1.7%). Someone with COVID in the US is 4 times as likely to end up in the hospital and nearly twice as likely to die as someone who has Influenza. Although many people with serious illness have underlying health conditions, many do not.
In addition, there is something called “Long COVID” that doesn’t occur with Influenza. It’s an array of debilitating symptoms that can persist for weeks or months after an infection ends. Typically, these include fatigue, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, and “brain fog”. Some people develop more severe issues across multiple organs, including the lungs, heart, and brain. It has made the return to work impossible for some survivors.
Please recognize that COVID is not a political issue, keep yourself and others safe!