Covid-19: the risk of death would be 3.5 times higher than for the flu

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If some still doubted it, it is now official: the Covid-19 is more deadly than the flu, as revealed by a new Canadian study. The risk of death from Covid-19 would even be 3.5 times higher than that from seasonal flu.

“It’s just a simple flu”, “The Covid-19 has killed fewer people than the flu” … These sentences have multiplied in recent months on social networks, showing that part of the population remains skeptical about the severe forms of the virus which disrupted their daily lives a year ago. Well Named ? No, say Canadian researchers who confirm, with supporting figures, that Covid-19 is much more deadly than seasonal flu.

Published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ), the study compared hospitalizations for influenza between November 1, 2019 and June 30, 2020 at seven large hospitals in Toronto and Mississauga. The patients concerned were either admitted to medical services or to an intensive care unit for influenza or Covid-19. In total, during the period, there were 783 hospitalizations for influenza in 763 unique patients, compared to 1,027 hospitalizations for Covid-19 in 972 patients.

“We can now definitively state that Covid-19 is much more severe than seasonal flu. Patients admitted to hospital in Ontario with the virus had a 3.5 times higher risk of death, 1.5 times use higher intensive care unit and 1.5 times longer hospital stays than patients admitted with influenza, ”says Dr. Amol Verma of St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto.

Elderly people, but not only

Another misconception partially swept away by researchers: no, severe forms of Covid-19 do not only affect the elderly. The study also indicates that patients under 50 hospitalized for the new virus represented 24% of admissions to intensive care units.

“Many people believe that Covid-19 primarily affects the elderly. (…) We have found that among adults over 75 years of age hospitalized for Covid-19, nearly 40% have died in hospital But it can also cause very serious illness in young adults. Almost one in three adults under 50 hospitalized with Covid-19 required intensive care and nearly one in ten had to be readmitted to the hospital after his discharge “, continues Dr Verma.

Among the explanations provided by the researchers, note the fact that beyond the severity of the disease itself, populations are currently poorly immunized against Covid-19, compared to seasonal flu; which accentuates the phenomenon. “Hopefully the severity of Covid-19 will decrease over time as people are vaccinated against the virus and more effective treatments are identified. Unfortunately, there is also the possibility that variants of the virus are even more serious.” , concludes the main author of the study.

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