Is the flu more dangerous than COVID, as many people believe? Study shows risk of COVID death is 3.5 times higher

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Credit: USA Today
Credit: USA Today

“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.

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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.

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