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As Focus Remains on Coronavirus, Influenza Continues Its Deadly Season

Despite new study on contagiousness of COVID-19, you are more likely to get the flu

February 20, 2020

A new study released in China this week found that the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, is more contagious than the related viruses which cause SARS and MERS, CNN reports.

The new study examined data from 72,314 patients, 44,672 of which were confirmed cases of the virus. Of the confirmed cases, there were 1,023 deaths, a mortality rate of 2.3%. By comparison, SARS had a mortality rate of 9.6% during the 2003 outbreak, while MERS has a case fatality of 35%.

While the disease resulting from the novel coronavirus, COVID-19 is not as fatal on a case-by-case basis, its greater spread has already led to more deaths than its related coronaviruses. However, if you are in the United States there is one disease that has COVID-19 beat in terms of contagiousness and severity—the flu.

The 2019-2020 flu season began early, in late September, and has affected 26 million people in the United States. It is projected to be one of the worst flu seasons in a decade and has so far resulted in the death of at least 14,000 people, and the hospitalization of at least  250,000 individuals, CNN reports.

Even in mild flu seasons, at least 12,000 die from influenza in the United States each year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The flu becomes dangerous when secondary infections emerge as the result of an already weakened immune system. These complications include pneumonia, inflammation in the heart and brain, and organ failure.

Influenza is a tricky disease as the virus changes every year. Most of these changes are small and insignificant, but occasionally the flu undergoes a shift which results in a new strain that people have not been exposed to before. Fortunately, there was no shift this year, unlike in 2009 when the H1N1 flu strain became a pandemic because people had no immunity against it.

Help protect your building patrons from the flu. Learn some cleaning tips to beat this year’s flu season.

 

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