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Flu Deaths vs. COVID-19 Deaths

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Posted on December 27, 2021
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According to the World Health Organization, 290,000 to 650,000 people die of flu-related causes every year worldwide. COVID-19 has killed over 5 million people worldwide in just 2 years.

But how do flu and COVID-19 deaths compare in the United States? On average in the United States, as shown in the graph below, people are less like to die from the flu than COVID-19.

In this graph, you can see the difference in flu and COVID-19 mortality rates from 2014 to December 2021:


COVID-19 Prevention is Also Flu Prevention
It’s important to note that when COVID-19 started spreading and the country went on lockdown in March 2020, the same measures that were used to “flatten the curve” stopped the flu entirely. In fact, the CDC stopped tracking flu activity early for the 2019-2020 season because COVID-19 precautions wiped out the flu. The flu was virtually nonexistent for the 2020-2021 season likely because people were wearing masks, staying home more often, and not socializing.

Now that flu and COVID-19 are spreading at the same time, flu deaths may sadly rise again. That’s why it’s important to get vaccinated, get tested, and wear masks to prevent both viruses.

Flu is Still Serious
Just because flu mortality is lower than COVID-19 mortality doesn’t mean flu isn’t serious. CDC estimates that flu has resulted in 9 million – 41 million illnesses, 140,000 – 710,000 hospitalizations, and 12,000 – 52,000 deaths annually between 2010 and 2020.


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