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Here's Why COVID-19 is Not 'Just Like the Flu'

Here's Why COVID-19 is Not 'Just Like the Flu'

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Creative Producer: Kunal Mehra

How often have you heard, COVID-19 is just like the flu? They have a few overlapping symptoms, sure, but COVID-19 is far more dangerous than the common flu. To understand why coronavirus has become one of the most widespread pandemics of all times, we have to understand three factors:

1. Basic Reproduction Number or the rate at which an infection spread. If you have the flu, chances are, that you may pass it on to one other person. The COVID-19 on the other hand, is two times as contagious, and affected person can pass it to at least two more people. But that’s not where this ends.

2. Incubation Period or the amount of time taken for symptoms to show up and for you to realise that you are unwell. For regular flu it takes about 48 hours for the symptoms to appear. In COVID-19, it can take up to 14 days. Which means a person can remain infected and contagious for 14 days, before he/she feels ill and self-isolates.

3. The Severity and Death Rate. While there are a few overlapping symptoms between Flu and COVID-19, the chances of hospitalisation with the latter is much higher. Almost ten times higher. With Flu, the severity of the disease is less and also there is a vaccine available, there are medicines and most importantly, because it has been around for a while, a large part of the population has some kind of immunity to it. On the other hand, scientists are still trying to understand everything about COVID-19, a possible vaccine is at least 12 to 18 months away, there is no cure and at the moment it seems like it likely has a higher fatality rate.

These three factors combined make COVID-19 a much more serious threat than the flu. And the best option right now for everyone is to listen to the doctors, scientists and authorities, practice social distancing and stay at home.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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