Is the COVID-19 Coronavirus More Lethal Than the Common Flu? These are the Numbers.

It has been argued by some that we shouldn't really get so worked up about COVID-19, because it is in reality no more dangerous or lethal than the common flu. Based on this argument, some argue that the "shelter-in-place" orders and other restrictions are unnecessary, and more damaging to the economy than just letting the virus run its course through the population and letting everyone get back to work.

Using numbers provided by the Johns Hopkins Global COVID-19 Survey and the data collection sites from this morning (04/18/2020) and the estimates of influenza cases and deaths during the 2018-2019 influenza season in the US provided by the CDC, it is possible to get a pretty good idea of whether COVID-19 is really no more severe or lethal than the common influenza.

According to the Johns Hopkins Global COVID-19 Survey numbers from this morning, global and US reported cases and deaths were:

World Reported Cases = 2,284,018
World Reported Deaths = 156,901
US Reported Cases = 711,197
US Reported Deaths = 156,901

According to, the numbers for these categories were:

World Reported Cases = 2,296,887
World Reported Deaths = 157,955
US Reported Cases = 719,686
US Reported Deaths = 38,200

According to the CDC Estimates of the number of influenza cases and deaths in the US for the 2018-2019 influenza season, the numbers were:

US Estimates of influenza cases = 35,500,000
US Estimates of influenza deaths = 34,200

From this point it is simple arithmetic. Since the numbers reported by Johns Hopkins and Worldometers are close, I will use the Worldometers numbers, because when figuring the percentage of deaths using a higher number for cases provides a lower percentage of deaths per case, which would support the argument that COVID-19 is no more lethal than influenza.

So in calculating the lethality of COVID-19, simply divide the number of deaths by the number of of cases to arrive at the percentage of deaths. Using today's numbers, 38,200/719,686 = 5.31% of cases result in death. Even if you assume that the number of cases is under-reported, and the total cases is twice the reported number, you would still arrive at 2.6% of all cases resulting in deaths.

You can use the numbers from Johns Hopkins, if you wish, and you will get a similar result. 37,309/711,197 = 5.2% of US cases resulting in death, and even if twice as many cases actually have occurred, the percentage of cases resulting in death would still be 2.6%.

So how about the common influenza? You can argue that the CDC numbers are just estimates, but the CDC has been doing this for years, and its estimates are peer reviewed, so argue away if you will, but their estimates are sufficient for the example.

Influenza deaths divided by Influenza cases in the 2018-2019 influenza season

34,200/35,500,000 =00.09% of influenza cases result in death.

Even if you assume that the number of deaths was twice the estimate, and 68,400 people died in the US from influenza last year, the percentage of deaths resulting from influenza cases still would not reach 0.20%.

Now imagine that no restrictions on people in the US were put in place -- no lockdowns, no "shelter-in-place" orders, no stay at home orders, everybody just keep on keeping on. If we had the same number of COVID-19 cases as influenza cases, and we had a 2.5% lethality rate, we could anticipate +/- 887,500 deaths from COVID-19. Just about 26 times as many deaths from COVID-19 as from the same number of common influenza cases.

Go ahead, check my arithmetic. Just don't argue that COVID-19 is no more dangerous or lethal than the common flu, because that would be, using the best available data, a BIG FAT LIE.


  • Now that the facts are there for anyone to see, think for a moment what 25 times as many COVID-19 cases over the last three months would have done to the US economy. Without any "shelter-in-place" orders, or lockdowns, we could anticipate +/- 995,000 COVID-19 deaths, resulting from almost 18 million COVID-19 cases. In the US alone. 18 million US workers out of work with illness, and almost a million people dead. Can anyone really argue, with a straight face, that this would be better than what we have tried to do to mitigate this healthcare disaster? With that many cases of COVID-19, could our healthcare system survive? Could our economy thrive?

    We have been fighting this lethal disease for about three months. And people are whining that our liberty is being take away because our schools are closed and we can't get a beer at our local brewery? Give me a break.
  • Another point. The CDC estimates of influenza cases in the US and deaths resulting from influenza cases, take into account the fact that every year millions of US citizens and workers get vaccinated for the most prevalent influenza strains that year. So the number of cases reflects for the most part a vaccinated society. And those estimates also take into account the fact that even those who choose NOT to get vaccinated have developed some level of "herd immunity," where people have been previously exposed to influenza and survived.

    There is no vaccine for COVID-19. And there is no "herd immunity" to COVID-19. Just a killer virus wreaking havoc on our species. Not only in the US, but everywhere that humans reside. And giving the full benefit of the doubt, this killer virus takes about 2-3 lives for every 100 people it infects. Everywhere.

    Stay home. Wash your hands often. Stay away from other people. And for God's sake, stop whining about the inconvenience. Restrictions on your freedom of movement in the short term are much better than dying with a tube down your throat, and with no one to help you, no family members present, as you choke to death on the fluid in your lungs.
  • CNN said the flu and the corona not the same and we should not be worried.

    Motherfucker @SaremChuuk no lie now
Sign In or Register to comment.