Difference between influenza and coronavirus

Health

Russia's consumer rights watchdog Rospotrebnadzor told the Russians about similarities and differences between influenza virus and coronavirus infection COVID-19, which caused global pandemic.

According to representatives of the agency, both respiratory diseases have similar symptoms and may develop both asymptomatically and severely. Severe symptoms may lead to death.

The viruses that cause the two diseases are transmitted by contact, by airborne transmission, and through fomites - skin and hair, as well as "infected" clothes and objects.

Preventive measures are the same in both cases:

  • Washing hands
  • Covering one's mouth while sneezing and coughing.

Specialists also recommend observing so-called "respiratory etiquette", when one covers the face with one's arm and sneezes into the elbow.

Experts note that the flu has a shorter incubation period and the interval between consecutive cases of infection is shorter. With coronavirus, it lasts up to six days, and with flu - three days. Influenza is transmitted during the first three to five days since the time when the person contracted the infection, possibly even before symptoms begin to manifest themselves.

Influenza is frequently diagnosed in children, while coronavirus affects children less than adults. There are just a few cases when individuals under 19 years of age contracted the new infection. According to preliminary data from China, children become infected from adults, but not vice versa.

At the same time, the main difference between influenza and COVID-19 is the speed, with which the viruses transmit from one carrier to another. The flu has a shorter average incubation period and the interval between consecutive cases of infection, and therefore it can spread faster twice.

Rospotrebnadzor separately pointed out children as an important factor for the spread of influenza. For the coronavirus infection, the opposite is true: the incidence of the disease in people aged 0-19 years is very low. The proportion of severe and critical cases of the course of the disease also differs and is higher with COVID-19 by nearly 20 percent. Concomitant diseases in elderly individuals raise the risk of severe development.

"Mortality from COVID-19 appears to be higher than that from influenza, especially from seasonal flu. Although it will take some time to fully estimate the true scale of mortality," officials said. Currently, the average mortality rate from coronavirus infection makes up 3-4 percent and from seasonal flu - less than 0.1 percent.

On March 14, school administrations in all Russian regions were recommended to temporarily switch to distance learning because of the spread of COVID-19.

93 cases of coronavirus infection have been registered in Russia so far. As many as 86 of them were brought to Russia from other countries, Tatyana Golikova, Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation, chairwoman of the operational headquarters to combat COVID-19 said.

According to her, four people have recovered. Seven people became infected from other infected individuals.