Estimates of Coronavirus Deadliness Compared to Flu

The Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention puts the overall death rate for the coronavirus ncov-19 at 2.3%. Vital Surveillances: The Epidemiological Characteristics of an Outbreak of 2019 Novel Coronavirus Diseases (COVID-19) — China, 2020.

A total of 72,314 patient records—44,672 (61.8%) confirmed cases, 16,186 (22.4%) suspected cases, 10,567 (14.6%) clinically diagnosed cases (Hubei Province only), and 889 asymptomatic cases (1.2%)—contributed data for the analysis. Among confirmed cases, most were aged 30–79 years (86.6%), diagnosed in Hubei (74.7%), and considered mild (80.9%). A total of 1,023 deaths occurred among confirmed cases for an overall case fatality rate of 2.3%. The COVID-19 spread outward from Hubei Province sometime after December 2019, and by February 11, 2020, 1,386 counties across all 31 provinces were affected. The epidemic curve of onset of symptoms peaked around January 23–26, then began to decline leading up to February 11. A total of 1,716 health workers have become infected and 5 have died (0.3%).

There were about 15,000 non-mild cases which resulted in 1023 deaths. 6.82% fatality rate.
The flu in the US has 12 million cases that need some medical attention with up to 36,000 deaths. This is a 0.3% fatality rate. The coronavirus statistics could be missing many mild cases. The number of deaths from coronavirus has increased to almost 2000. Only about 20% of the severe cases have fully recovered at this point.

If the non-mild coronavirus cases need hospitalization, then the 6.82% fatality rate compares to the flu where up to 36,000 of 440,000 hospitalizations die which is an 8% fatality rate.

The CDC estimates the current flu as having 0.1% fatality.

The case fatality rate of COVID-19 appeared to be about 2.5 percent. The case fatality rate for the seasonal flu in the United States ranges between 0.10 percent and 0.18 percent. For SARS, it’s about 10 percent and for MERS it is about 35 percent. For Ebola, it has varied between 25 percent and 90 percent, depending on outbreaks, averaging approximately 50 percent.

John Hopkins has a real-time coronavirus tracker.

• Avoiding close contact with people suffering from acute respiratory infections.
• Frequent hand-washing, especially after direct contact with ill people or their environment.
• Avoiding unprotected contact with farm or wild animals.
• People with symptoms of acute respiratory infection should practice cough etiquette (maintain distance, cover
coughs and sneezes with disposable tissues or clothing, and wash hands).
• Within health care facilities, enhance standard infection prevention and control practices in hospitals, especially
in emergency departments.


As a betacoronavirus, the 2019-nCoV has an envelope and round or oval particles with a diameter of 60-140nm, and is often polymorphic. The genetic characteristics of the 2019-nCoV are significantly different from SARSr-CoV and MERSr-CoV. Current researches have shown that it has a homology of more than 85% with bat SARS-like coronavirus (batSL-CoVZC45).

When isolated and cultured in vitro, 2019-nCoV can be found in human respiratory epithelial cells in about 96 hours.

2019-nCoV is sensitive to ultraviolet rays and heat, and can be effectively inactivated at 56°C for 30 minutes and lipid solvents such as ether, 75% ethanol, chlorine-containing disinfectants, peracetic acid, and chloroform. Chlorhexidine cannot effectively inactivate the virus.

Based on the current epidemiological investigations, the incubation period ranges from 1 to 14 days, mostly between 3-7 days.

The main clinical manifestations of 2019-nCoV infection are fever, fatigue and dry cough. A few patients also develop other symptoms such as nasal obstruction, runny nose, sore throat and diarrhea. In many severe patients, dyspnea and/or hypoxemia occurs after one week, and those critical cases can quickly progress to acute respiratory distress syndrome, septic shock, and metabolic acidosis and coagulation dysfunction that are difficult to be corrected. Notably, severe and critical patients may have moderate to low-grade fever or even no obvious fever during the course of the disease.

Mild cases only show low-grade fever, mild fatigue, and no signs of pneumonia.

Judging from the cases being treated, most patients have good prognosis, and a few patients are critically ill. Poor prognosis is more common in the elderly and those with underlying chronic conditions, and pediatric cases have relatively mild symptoms.

SOURCES- CDC, Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, New York Times
Written By Brian Wang,

29 thoughts on “Estimates of Coronavirus Deadliness Compared to Flu”

  1. Lots of indications that Europeans has strengthened immune systems. Probably because bad cities and bad hygiene made cities death camps for close to 1000 years. Death rates was higher than birth rates.
    Rest is evolution in action.

    China is trending for lots of epidemics, its lots of people there and many farmers tend to live very close to the animals.
    As China become more urban and farming become more industrialized I guess India and south east Asia will take over here.

  2. Yes, add that likely lots of people who get corona virus will not seek medical attention as they just get a bit ill, you don’t bother visiting an doctor for an flue unless you need an bill to not go to work.

  3. In short
    1) animals also smell their buttocks to identify each others, do this at your next date
    2) nobody said they are people, many times they are better than most people (ex. better than you)
    3) Many people do not think (Trump supporters are a prime example). I dont know if it would be a good idea to mass murder them
    4) there is no such thing as an absolute reality they say..

    Just sauying


  4. Mindbreaker:

    If… may…I think…I don’t think we can say yet…Possibly…Maybe…


    Made up hogwash.

    Just how many qualifiers should Mindbreaker have used to have a polite response to his speculation?

  5. Everyone is asymptomatic untel they show symptoms. We have to follow these people and insure that they clear their bodies of this infection.

  6. We already have a subset of data from that cruiser. America evacuated yesterday their 400 citizens, and of them, 14 asymptomatic have resulted to test positive, nearly as much as the 15 Americans that have fully developed the illness.

  7. The number of mild or asymptomatic where it never goes beyond that…complete guesswork.
    I think that the Diamond Princess cruseliner is our best indicator. Everyone is going to be tested. So we will see how many get a mild case and how many get a more severe case out of those who contract it.

  8. Some countries don’t have a lot of people but some have large populations. 204 Million people in Nigeria. 101 Million in Egypt. In that kind of density the spread could be near 100%. Which means 2%+ could die in those densely populated countries/cities if it gets loose.

  9. Let me address your first sentence. So far, SE Asians APPEAR to be MORE susceptible to the virus not less. Some early studies point to Caucasians and people of African descent having potential resistance not seen in some Asians. Although this is not definitive. Your statement is just made up hogwash.

  10. Yeah, it is the conditions meathead! I eat meat that is dry-aged 28-45 days. That does not make it bad. Chinese have NO sanitary standards. These “meat markets” are actually called wet markets because the ground is wet from blood and water. People walk through and touch everything with unclean hands. Culturally, Chinese do not wash their hands. They spit on the ground, even indoors. VERY unclean and dirty. So yeah, it is the conditions.

  11. And other animals kick/beat/cut/slash/kill each other for food. Do you live in a bubble disconnected from reality? Animals are a food source. They are not people. They do not think, build, or aspire to something more. Your desire to anthropomorphize them does not make it so.

  12. The point of the article is that mortality might actually be comparable to 2019-2020 flu in the US. We already know it’s not comparable to the Spanish flu in 1919. The suspect data isn’t the number of deaths, it’s the denominator of total infections which is very likely MUCH higher than reported with most being mild or asymptomatic.

  13. Much lower mass transit in Africa, though. It might survive there in little pockets like Polio, or Ebola, but it won’t go full pandemic from there.

  14. One out of every ten people on earth are in Quarantine or lockdown in China or this virus. There is one province of China the size of North Carolina where no vehicle traffic is permitted.
    You don’t enact that time of starvation quarantine for a regular flu.

  15. The COVID-19 “epidemic” is far less widespread or lethal than the normal flu, and for now at least, there is gross over-reaction causing more deaths and illness and economic collapse than the actual virus. What remains to be seen is how much immunity is conferred from being sick once. If one can get sick again, then mortality and contagion results will go much higher. If one becomes immune, at least for the season, it’ll tape off like most “common colds” which is what most Corona viruses are.

  16. Sorry, but this is a lot of numbers but they are misleading or wrong. Says the CDC (via Medscape: “Seasonal Flu Deaths More Common Worldwide Than Expected. Between 291,000 and 646,000 people die each year globally from seasonal influenza-related respiratory illnesses, according to new estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and global health partners. The new estimates are higher than the previous estimate of 250,000 to 500,000 deaths annually. The estimates were calculated using data from 47 countries between 1999 and 2015, and exclude deaths during pandemics.
    Adults aged over 75 years and adults in low-income countries in sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia were hardest hit, note A. Danielle Iuliano, PhD, from the CDC’s Influenza Division in Atlanta, Georgia, and colleagues.
    Previous mortality estimates for global influenza were calculated more than a decade ago and details on methods were lacking. Now, more countries are able to calculate numbers of deaths from seasonal flu. Additionally, this survey provides age- and country-specific data.”
    So, there is a big range, but 470,000 deaths/year is a reasonable average worldwide, with comorbidity conditions big factors in prognosis.

  17. It might double like that if there were no quarantines, no sealed boarders, no face masks and people sterilizing things, or there were millions still using all the public transit options…but that is not the picture. I think we are finally leveling off, at least in China. The new cases per day and deaths per day I expect to start to fall. But this is a big World, and it could take off again anywhere. So far Africa looks pretty good. I would mostly get concerned about it taking off there, but India would also be a major nightmare, or Latin America, less so, but still a concern. The Europeans know how to stop stuff. The Middle East is dry and not densely populated which works in our favor. In Russia, if they stop the trains, that’s it, no one is going anywhere. There are 43.5 million cars but few travel between the fairly distant large cities. Mostly it’s big trucks doing that stuff.

  18. The most troubling fact, I haven’t heard anyone saying. If this disease comes from the wildlife in China, the Chinese may already have an increased adaptation to it, so loosed on the World, the mortality rate may be much higher than we are seeing in China. I think there are hints of this. 3 areas in China have many infections but few if any fatalities: Jiangxi: 934 cases and only 1 fatality, Zhejiang: 1,174 cases 0 fatalities, and Fujian: 293 cases, 0 fatalities. These are all right next to each other. Statistical anomalies? Possibly. But I would not bet money on it. On the other hand Jiangsu also has no deaths and 631 cases and is not right next to these other areas.
    I don’t think we can say yet. Many of the sick in the rest of the world are ethnically Chinese, and many of those who have this outside China only recently got it, so would not be dying yet. There is also the mater of small numbers currently. I hope we continue to have that problem. Japan will probably get this under control. People tend to do what they are told in Japan, and have concern for others. If it ever gets completely loose in the US…we just have too many self-centered jerks who will only care about getting it and after will spread it everywhere because they don’t care and they have bills to pay. On the other hand personal automobiles do protect people to some degree. If you have or know a bunch of snot-nosed kids though…good luck. The grocery could be very dangerous. Work…maybe.

  19. Not the conditions. The Chinese like their meat fresh. They often buy fish live and crush their heads right before they steam them. It is the variety that is suspect. Gotta do a better job of stopping the bushmeat, wildlife, and animal parts for potions.
    The “fresh” meat we get in the US is days old, sometimes weeks old before they put it out.

  20. “Up to up to 36,000 deaths”? Flu can be much more deadly than stated. 500,000 to 675,000 died or (0.48 to 0.64 percent of the US population) in the Spanish Flu pandemic. And in the 2017-2018 flu season there were 61,000 deaths in the US. That is an estimate as they don’t really care enough to collect the real number:

  21. Mmmm… meat! Seasoned with the tears of those who love to virtue signal, while at the same time rejoicing in the death of people.

  22. I don’t think anyone outside China, even others in Asia, can believe the CCP when it comes to the numbers it’s reporting. Now, if it turns out they’re for real, YAAAAY!!! But, I doubt it.

    I’m almost not as worried about the current numbers as I am where it comes from, how it developed, was it created in a lab or is it a product of accidental contamination by lab animals, and the researchers didn’t know the animals were even sick until it was too late? And, if the latter is the case, the my God, be more careful with your research subjects. It would be pretty embarrassing and terrifying to suddenly realize, “Oh ***k me, that animal had a thing. And now we have the thing. … Well, awesome, now we’re basically boned.”

    It would make some sense that it was created in a lab, as the place where it reputedly showed up was cleaned up stupid quick. Then again, maybe China was jumpy because SARS. Who knows?

    It’s really a giant guessing game until we get definitive proof of Who-Dun-It or What-Dun-It.

  23. It’s certainly good not to be alarmist. I’m not sure if it’s doubling every six and a half days. I’ll have to review the numbers again. With that in mind , however, does anyone outside China really know what the numbers actually are? At this time, at least, it doesn’t kill most of the people it infects. And, I doubt it will. Especially of it was engineered to act in a certain way (that’s REALLY pushing the conspiracy line, though).

  24. something like 4 million left before the quarantine.

    No one in china believes the official numbers at all. Everyone who is from the area I know or listen to says its really, really, bad and way worse than has been let on.

    The Chinese numbers are basically lies as has been pointed out earlier. The official Chinese numbers from the provinces disagree with the ones from Beijing. Both were obvious lies but when the death counts dont even match up and your trusting the case numbers…..

    But don’t worry the CCP has sicked the power of traditional chinese medicine on it so soon we will be fine….Lions, tigers, Elephants, and everything else may be dead but we will be fine with their ground up bone in soups

  25. Don’t be alarmist, this is not the start of the apocalypse zombie.

    They have been quarantining their cities for a while now, dozens of millions can’t leave their houses, soon enough the contagions will wind down (if not it’s already doing so).

  26. The number of infected doubles every 6.5 days. Based upon that analysis, there are over 1 million current cases in China. Next week there will be 2 million. In two weeks there will be 4 million.

Comments are closed.