“We can now say definitively that COVID-19 is much more severe than seasonal influenza,” said… Dr. Amol Verma, a researcher in the School of Public Health at the University of Toronto.
“Patients admitted to hospital in Ontario with COVID-19 had a 3.5 times greater risk of death, 1.5 times greater use of the ICU, and 1.5 times longer hospital stays than patients admitted with influenza,” he said in a journal news release. These patients were also more likely to be put on a ventilator.
Verma’s team compared flu- and COVID-related hospitalizations between Nov. 1, 2019 and June 30, 2020 at seven hospitals in Toronto and nearby Mississauga. Both have large populations and high COVID infection rates.
While many people believe COVID-19 mainly affects older people, “it can also cause very serious illness in younger adults,” Verma said.
He noted that adults under age 50 accounted for 20% of COVID hospitalizations in the first wave of the pandemic. Nearly 1 in 3 adults under 50 required intensive care and nearly 1 in 10 had to be readmitted to the hospital after they were discharged, according to the study.