7 votes

Why we panic about coronavirus, but not the flu

6 comments

  1. [5]
    envy
    Link
    That's a 2% fatality rate for Coronavirus vs 0.05% fatality rate for the flu. Yet the flu has such a wide reach it is still the 8th leading cause of death and fifth leading cause of death in those...

    This new strain of coronavirus has killed 132 people so far, all of them in China. More than 6,000 total cases have been reported worldwide, although experts believe that total is underestimated.

    By comparison, this year's flu season has killed 8,200 people, with at least 15 million cases — and that's just in the U.S.

    That's a 2% fatality rate for Coronavirus vs 0.05% fatality rate for the flu.

    Yet the flu has such a wide reach it is still the 8th leading cause of death and fifth leading cause of death in those over 65.

    Experts are concerned that it could find a devastating “sweet spot”—mild enough that some patients will go about their normal routines and spread the virus far and wide, triggering an increase in deaths. And if some patients may spread the virus when they have mild or no symptoms at all, as Chinese officials have asserted, that would undercut efforts to halt transmission.

    Source

    6 votes
    1. [4]
      nothis
      Link Parent
      I heard that the Coronavirus is massively underreported, which means the fatality rate is likely much lower. Probably higher than the flu, still.

      I heard that the Coronavirus is massively underreported, which means the fatality rate is likely much lower. Probably higher than the flu, still.

      1. [3]
        envy
        Link Parent
        Yes, but the lower the mortality rate, the faster the virus spreads. Source

        Yes, but the lower the mortality rate, the faster the virus spreads.

        Currently, the case fatality rate for Wuhan virus is around 2% -- significantly smaller than SARS' 9.6% mortality rate

        It has taken less than two months for [Wuhan] to infect around 75% of the number infected by SARS over a nine month period.

        Source

        1 vote
        1. [2]
          nothis
          Link Parent
          I don't get it, do you mean the faster spread somehow makes it as bad despite the lower mortality rate? It just seems like a separate issue, even if the number derives from it.

          I don't get it, do you mean the faster spread somehow makes it as bad despite the lower mortality rate? It just seems like a separate issue, even if the number derives from it.

          1 vote
          1. Gaywallet
            Link Parent
            It's a numbers game. If the mortality is lower but the spread is faster, it's harder to contain. If it's harder to contain more people get infected and the total absolute deaths might exceed...

            It's a numbers game. If the mortality is lower but the spread is faster, it's harder to contain. If it's harder to contain more people get infected and the total absolute deaths might exceed something which is harder to catch but more likely to result in death.

  2. Micycle_the_Bichael
    Link
    I mostly agree with this but I'll point out a few reasons why I think people are more concerned about one than the other: Fear of the Unknown. The flu and flu season is normalized. Billions of...

    I mostly agree with this but I'll point out a few reasons why I think people are more concerned about one than the other:

    1. Fear of the Unknown. The flu and flu season is normalized. Billions of people survive flu season every year without getting sick, and lots of people get the flu and survive it. Over time we get less afraid because on an individual level it seems like deadly. Compare that to a new virus that hasn't been seen before and has no known treatment or vaccine and I see why people are more afraid. I'm not sure that this is on everyone's mind, but I'm sure there is a bit of "China isn't the West so this disease is exotic and therefore more deadly" also plays a part in it too.

    2. Perception and percentages. I'm smashing these together because I'm lazy and regret using the bullet point format but I'm not going back and changing it. Like I discussed in (1), lots of people get the flu and survive. A lot of the people who die are extremas in ages (skew young or old) and/or poorer. The former there is just less doctors can do to help, and the latter society just doesn't care about. That is really callous and I strongly hate that mindset, but to pretend classism (and to go to my first point, racism) doesn't play a role in how deadly we view a disease would be overly-reductive IMO.

    These are just my thoughts to explain WHY people are more concerned about coronavirus and not the flu. I agree with the author that it is (at least at this time) silly and that people SHOULD be more worried about the flu. I just wanted to discuss my thoughts on why it is the way that it is since the author didn't discuss that at all.

    5 votes