Methodist in the Media

Coronavirus Is Not the Flu - It's Much, Much Worse

Published: April 27, 2020

The flu versus the coronavirus argument is still bouncing around based on the simplistic comparison of the death toll between the two viruses.

In the coming days across the United States, the number of people who have died from COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, will pass the annual toll from 2018 and 2017 from the flu and pneumonia.

In Nebraska, that has already happened as COVID-19 deaths last week passed Nebraska’s official count of deaths from this flu season.

Dr. Robert Penn, medical director of infection and prevention for Methodist Hospital, said the seasonal flu outbreak each year is always unpredictable, and the 2009 H1N1 flu outbreak raised alarms at the time but turned out to be not quite so severe.

Over his 39-year career, Penn could compare the coronavirus pandemic only to the emergence of HIV and AIDS. Even so, he said, “This is much more unsettling.”

Omaha World Herald: Coronavirus is not the flu — it’s much, much worse