What’s the difference between the coronavirus outbreak and flu season?

Reporter: Veronica Marshall
Published: Updated:

We are in the middle of the flu season and the possibility of a COVID-19 pandemic. Right now, there are clear differences between the two medical maladies.

Most people WINK News spoke with know their chances of getting the coronavirus virus in Florida are pretty slim. But that does not mean things couldn’t change and some are taking precautions.

“I make sure I wash my hands wherever I go,” said Jeffrey Roth, who is visiting from New York.

Washing your hands does not only protect people from the coronavirus but one that is also already here: the flu.  Both are similar, as coughing and fever can show up with both viruses, and they spread through droplets in the air.

There is also a chance of death for each. Chinese scientists have looked at 45,000 confirmed cases and found the death rate for the new virus was 2.3%. The flu’s mortality rate is 0.1%. But, questions surround whether infected people with only mild symptoms were included in the count and the likely death rate is significantly lower.

The major difference that concerns scientists and health officials is there is a way we can prevent coming down with the flu. So far, no vaccine exists for the new virus and it could take up to a year before one is on the market due to the rigorous demands of testing a vaccine. The flu does have a vaccine.

Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director-general of the World Health Organization, said he gives people the same advice for both.

“Wash your hands with water and soap, and also don’t rub your face,” Dr. Ghebreyesus said. “And also, six feet distance or so.”

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