# How Does Covid Compare to the Flu?

Mish

Let's investigate the continued claims "Covid is no worse than the flu." and "Covid is a scam."

CDC Stats US 2019-2020 Influenza Season

Data Sources

Trump Flashback March 9

Trump Flashback March 13

All Red Tape has Been Cut!

• March 9 Trump: "At this moment there are 546 confirmed cases of CoronaVirus, with 22 deaths. Think about that!"
• March 13 Trump: "Testing will soon happen on a very large scale basis. All Red Tape has been cut, ready to go!"
• November 19 Johns Hopkins: 257,329 deaths and counting
• CDC 2019-2020 Influenza Season Deaths:  21,909
• CDC 2019-2020 Influenza Season Cases: 38,194,505

Observed Covid Fatality Rate Johns Hopkins

Fatality Rate Flu vs Covid - My Calculations

• Flu: 22,000 / 38,000,000 * 100 = 0.058%
• Covid: 257,329 / 12,000,000 * 100 = 2.144%

The death rate from Covid is 37 times greater than the flu.

Think about that while making the claim "Covid is no worse than the flu."

Challenge on CFR vs IFR

See Estimating Mortality From COVID-19 for discussion.

There are two measures used to assess the proportion of infected individuals with fatal outcomes. The first is infection fatality ratio (IFR), which estimates this proportion of deaths among all infected individuals. The second is case fatality ratio (CFR), which estimates this proportion of deaths among identified confirmed cases.

To measure IFR accurately, a complete picture of the number of infections of, and deaths caused by, the disease must be known. Consequently, at this early stage of the pandemic, most estimates of fatality ratios have been based on cases detected through surveillance and calculated using crude methods, giving rise to widely variable estimates of CFR by country – from less than 0.1% to over 25%.

Countries have varying approaches to COVID-19 case definitions. Consequently, the numerator and the denominator of any formula used to calculate fatality rate will vary according to how they are defined.

OK, the bottom line is still 22,000 dead vs 257,329.

Here is a proposed factor to consider.

Mish

No. 1-35
Zardoz

Both the flu and Covid can only kill you once, so.... checkmate libs!

Casual_Observer

If it is a claim made by Trump, his supporters, conservatives or conspiracy theorists, then it guaranteed to be false.

Trump argued the sky was not blue today in court.

Jojo

More deaths are good. Deaths steal money from the hospitals and drug companies that keep people alive way beyond what is reasonable. So death can be a positive for the world.

And more positive is that death can free up inheritance money, allowing that money to filter back into the economy, thus helping us recover the Covid.

The death numbers are really quite small against total population. Stop listening to TPTB/MSM.

Don't worry, be happy. This will all work out in the end. I'm off for my nose outside my mask workout. See ya...

Felix_Mish

@Mish Ah. Apples and oranges in the starting graphic isn't a good start for this post. Nevertheless, the conclusion that C19 isn't "the flu" seems valid.

Covid vs Flu? Scroll down to the image at this URL:

It's a picture of deaths in the US over time, starting January 2017. Kind of a sine wave with peaks in the winter. Clearly shows the effect of, presumably, C19 this year.

BTW, I get the impression the winter-ish peaks every year are called, "the flu".

Doug78

It depends on which flu you want to talk about. The 1957-58 Flu was the worst between 1918 and now. It killed around 110K Americans. At the time the population was 175 million and was younger in composition. Correcting for the difference in population but not for a younger population gives the equivalent of 218K today. Most flu comparisons have a cut off year of around 1968. It might be oversight but it might also be because it doesn't fit the narrative. If you want to compare flu pandemics it would be more honest to compare all of them and not just the ones you want. Don't take my word for it. Take the Nation Institute of Health's word. This study came out the year before Covid-19.

MIFE

MISH

I really think you need to break out and compare the age groups - from Canada numbers (I don't look at US details sorry!) perspective, the really young are not impacted as much as older people for COVID-19. So if you look at the under 20 age group, I think the outcomes from flu may actually be worse than from COVID-19. This is clearly not true for over 60 age group where COVIV-19 is truly scary. This is clearly not true for over 60 age group where COVIV-19 is truly scary.

I suspect that it may depend on a countries demographics but overall I spitball that COVID-19 is 5-10 times worse but it depends on who you are wrt age and overall health.

To say it is fake or no worse than the flu is more than a little obtuse

EGW

This is probably the most unscientific blog post Mish has ever posted.

EGW

Less than one person in my 320k population county dies from covid-19 every day. I think I'll be ok.

oldman45

I still don't trust the statistics of how many people actually died from Covid directly versus hw many side of other complications while testing positive from Covid.

Bam_Man

EXCESS Deaths is what we should be talking about - and no one is.
When the year is over, we will know how many EXCESS deaths there were, and not just those of the very elderly that were pulled forward by a month or two.

cudmeister

Thank you for this analysis.

Sechel

250,000 Americans have died from Covid19. Doesn't sound like the flu

Realist

22k vs 257k and yet some here still dispute the numbers.

In a few months it will be 22k vs 400k and they will still dispute the numbers.

Biden got 6 million more votes and yet Trump has convinced 70% of his supporters that he won the election.

We are going to have to add this to the list of conspiracy theories:

The earth is flat.

Man did not land on the moon.

The earth is only 6000 years old.

Global warming is a hoax.

The CV19 virus is a hoax and no worse than the flu.

Trump won the election and the democrats stole it from him.

You can’t fight stupid.

Anda

Um....I went back to the reply to the previous article I posted with the link to the view of Dr. Roger Hodkinson, and saw there were 14 replies to it. I didn't read them yet because it's late and probably some argument etc. :-|

He draws a clear distinction between those vulnerable and those not. I think we can all agree on this at least. After that there are a lot of questions, a lot of uncertainty, as pertains to the rest of the population , as pertains to testing efficacy and statistics, as pertains to sequela and strain. That is not even including arguments over how effective various measures are or might be.

It does need arguing, we deserve clearer answers and clear accountability and explanation for the methods and policies that are being enacted by various governments.

Just to repeat that I really don't have a set answer one way or the other. There won't be a single answer either, but I think we should expect any given to remain within a broader level of reasoning, and unfortunately I am not finding this from mainstream presentation, which seems to have turned into an extreme, met by an equally adamant counter-reaction. That the middle ground is not discussed I find disturbing, and suspicious - it is the "duty" of media and of government to validate their relative approaches.

Drama, real world drama, is not automatic validation of the way it is presented, or to whatever measures are chosen as reply.

Waiting for the Social Security actuary to yell Halleluiah: "Not only did everyone die on time, 1,000 per day extra died. I will have to rerun the numbers to compute when the Fund runs out of US Treasuries."

Dodge Demon

100,000 in U.S. and 1,000,000 worldwide died in the 1968 Pandemic (H3N2 virus). World population then was 3,400,000,000, less than half of present.

116,000 in U.S. and 1,100,000 worldwide died in 1957-1958 Pandemic (H2N2 virus) World population then was 3,000,000,000.

Time for Mish to lead a lynch mob to yank down the statues of LBJ and Ike.

Dodge Demon

The Boomers were in their teens and 20s in 1958 and 1968, a much younger bulge of population range then.

The country was not a majority obese/morbidly obese in those years.

The country was not full of diabetes cases in those years.

The country did not have the Healthcare/Pharma/Health Insurance industrial complex n those years.

If you're over 40, better to get the flu. If under 10, better to get COVID. Fight me.

Realist

Here are the US daily cases:deaths this week. It’s still getting worse.

Nov 15 Su 146,570:656

Nov 16 M 162,516:728

Nov 17 T 161,645:1658

Nov 18 W 176,580:1971

Nov 19 Th 189,477:2034

Anda

From

In NYC they estimate 1.4% IFR , with 4.5% of that being healthy under 65, which is 0.063 % IFR for that group if I calculated correctly, or one fatality in slightly less than 2000 infections for that age group.

After that it is maybe a matter of own perspective, and whatever other incidence (for example sequela or economic cost) are chosen to be included. Being forcefully locked up at home is questionable though.

Jackula

These numbers are low for Covid especially since we are gonna average quite a few deaths over 2k per day thru the end of the year. Plus this does not include excess deaths. As far as the normal flu deaths they are not counted directly but interpolated from excess deaths. The other huge issue is a lot of folks have far more lasting damage from Covid than the flu.

Rbm

Mish thats 250000 with mask/6 ft and economy shut down. Numbers would be higher.
Like i said before. I ve had it i suggest you try to avoid it. It may not kill you but it may also leave you with longterm issues.

macaboca

Pandemic Vs Endemic!

Carl_R

The comparison between the flu and Covid is imperfect, and always will be:

1. The numerator of 22,000 for the flu is estimated deaths. Only about 5-6,000 deaths were actually counted. The CDC increases the flu deaths by 4-6x based on excess deaths. The numerator for Covid is based on actual counts, which are invariably low. In time the CDC will increase them based on excess deaths. The net effect is to make covid look better than it actually is.
2. The flu for any season is actually 3 to 5 different variants. Thus, each flu only kills a portion of the 22,000 for a year. This makes covid look better than it actually is.
3. The denominator for the flu includes all people with symptoms. The denominator for Covid includes positive test results, both those with symptoms, and those without. If you removed the asymptomatic people, covid would look worse than the above comparison.
4. The analysis is static, but the medical treatments, and the non-pharmaceutical interventions are not. Early on the death rate was much higher than the more recent cases. In the early going, the CFR was about 3.5%, but now it is closer to 1% on average, and even lower, perhaps 0.5%, in areas with mask mandates. Thus, when you look at an average CFR at the end, I believe it will be much lower than the current one.

Some of these make Covid look worse, some make it look better. In the end it comes down to total fatalities. In an average year, each active flu variant kills about 7,000 people. It would appear that when Covid has run its course, it will have killed somewhere between 400,000 and 800,000 people. That's the comparison I use.

amigator

Good Stuff Mish Thanks for bringing some numbers into the discussion. Still a little early but we should be able to start to get a better understanding. There is no doubt COVID is worse than the flu.

22,000 deaths seems a bit low in 2017 there were 55k from Influenza and pneumonia maybe a light season or could some of those deaths trickled into COVID?

Where did the 38 million come from? actual tests or an estimate. And to think this was with vaccines yikes! Looks like the 38 million is an estimate? Is it our estimate that only 12 million have had the Corna Virus? Seems low. Do we have any "scientists or doctors" estimating the actual number of cases we have had? A quick google https://www.statnews.com/2020/07/21/cdc-study-actual-covid-19-cases/ has a 6 to 24 times more cases. If you use an estimate say 15 that would give you 257,329/180,000,000 (12mill x15) = 0.14% or 2.4 times worse than flu. the range would give 6.2 - 1.6 times worse than flu. If 24 times is anywhere close then if the "herd theory" has any merit would be be getting pretty close to start taking effect soon. And we are certainly not seeing that at least not right now I don't think.

Keep the numbers flowing. It's great to see many posts and only a couple about the elections maybe we are returning to some more important matters!

Duncan Burns

Now do deaths "with" C19 and "of" C19

If you're in hospice or an LTC, dying of old-age & cancer, but get C19, you're counted as a C19 death. Then, do a death certificate search and separate "primary" versus "secondary" cause of death. Is C19 bad? Of course, but thankfully unlike the flu, it's not killing our kids the same way.

Policy is being made with a sledgehammer when a scalpel should have been used. The cost of which we won't truly know for some time (uneducated children, businesses destroyed, suicides, OD's, etc).

NewUlm

Looks like my post was pulled... for pointing out that Flu only was 22K and COVID only was 105K deaths.

But, if you look at the CDC co-morbidities there are 99K FLU+COVID deaths. So, the flu did not go away, it's deadly when combine with COVID - something everyone ignores.

And I think everyone should read the 2019 WHO pandemic plan it's 91 pages of NPI responses that we chose to ignore and went with unproven lockdowns, school closures and masks - which is NOT recommended by the WHO for any mid to mild pandemic.

frozeninthenorth

Interesting debate, up here in Canada, the issue of the sick and elderly was quickly resolved as the initial deaths were primarily in old age residences where, by their nature, the elderly already have severe underlying conditions.

I think that the death rate is an interesting statistic, but again watching the numbers will impact those numbers. Road accidents are way down as are murders as more people stay indoors and bars/restaurants are closed.

What we are seeing up here is a push to close schools in January (again) but not to shut down the economy -- the economy cannot suffer a second shut down without seriously affecting the country's economy (which is made of people).

JayTe

Mike, you obviously don't know what you're talking about. First as to the supposed covid-19 deaths, from the cdc's own data that you can find here https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nvss/vsrr/covid_weekly/index.htm

the number of people who have actually died from covid-19 is closer to around 10k. What you fail to understand is that up until the "covid-19", the way deaths were recorded was the underlying condition (i.e. the initial condition that caused your decline in health) is recorded on the first page of the death certificate as the main cause of death. The illness that you had the pushed you over the edge after the decline in your health was called your immediate cause of death and is recorded on the second page. It is because of this system that we can know who died of heart disease, cancer, etc. Now, there was a directive from the CDC that allowed for the recording the immediate cause of death as the underlying cause of death but even worse, a medical professional was allowed to record the illness as being covid-19 without even the requirement of any valid test! Finally, the cherry on top is hospitals and medical centres were given \$15k for every covid-19 case they treated!!! So obviously someone at the CDC found the numbers so egregious that they went back, worked with the hospitals and medical centres and corrected the numbers.

Second, you might say that the PCR testing proves that they died of covid-19! And there you would be wrong. The test has no scientific validity. If you want to read about it, here is an article that goes into depth. https://off-guardian.org/2020/06/27/covid19-pcr-tests-are-scientifically-meaningless/
The reason why is first, the sample taken from the patient is not filtered of contaminants including dead viruses. Note that your human virome contains an estimated 380 trillion viruses. Second, no lab around the world has ever isolated a SARS-COV2 virus and proven that it causes covid-19. If you want to know more, read the above cited article on pcr tests. So with no golden copy of the virus, what are they comparing against? It turns out that what they did was to splice together 150-200 base pairs from RNA slices into what they think is the virus!?! It only exists on a computer!!! You can read what Dr. Andrew Kaufman says about it here.

The final part is the amplification cycles. So this is used to increase the quantity of what is in the sample. As I mentioned previously the sample is contaminated with everything that exist in your virome, lungs, etc. Even the creater of PCR Kary Mullis said that if you amplify any sample enough that you will find anything that you want there. That is why he said that it should not be used for diagnostic purposes. See Kary Mullis speak about it here. https://off-guardian.org/2020/10/05/pcr-inventor-it-doesnt-tell-you-that-you-are-sick/

So where are we now. We have the following:

1. Changed definition of how deaths are recorded ordered by the CDC deaths to make it appear that the numbers for covid-19 deaths are higher than they actually are.
2. Hospitals and medical facilities incentived to record as many deaths as possible as covid-19 deaths.
3. Scientifically useless PCR tests that tell us nothing about whether one has covid-19 or not.

Well, let's look at total deaths in the US this year up until now:
2015: 2,712,630
2016: 2,744,248
2017: 2,813,503
2018: 2,839,205
2019: 2900,689
2020 (up until November 16th): 2,487,350

So we are presently running at a lower death rate than in previous years. Even with all the sheninagans and the massaging of covid-19 numbers it is clear that this year is nothing special. I will leave you with one other fact that comes from the centre of evidence based medicine. It compares swine flu to covid-19. The CDC estimated that 150, 000 to 575,000 people died from (H1N1) pandemic virus infection in the first year of the outbreak. Here is the key thing to note about the difference between a real pandemic and seasonal influenza:

• 80% of the virus-related deaths were estimated to occur in those < 65 years of age.
• In seasonal influenza epidemics, about 70% to 90% of deaths occur in people ≥65.

Even if we assume that all of the deaths that you cited were covid-19, if you look at the profile, it meets that of seasonal influenza not a real pandemic. So your arguments don't hold water.

Jojo

Not just COVID: Nursing home neglect deaths surge in shadows
By MATT SEDENSKY and BERNARD CONDON
18 Nov 2020

When COVID-19 tore through Donald Wallace’s nursing home, he was one of the lucky few to avoid infection.

He died a horrible death anyway.

Hale and happy before the pandemic, the 75-year-old retired Alabama truck driver became so malnourished and dehydrated that he dropped to 98 pounds and looked to his son like he’d been in a concentration camp. Septic shock suggested an untreated urinary infection, E. coli in his body from his own feces hinted at poor hygiene, and aspiration pneumonia indicated Wallace, who needed help with meals, had likely choked on his food.

“He couldn’t even hold his head up straight because he had gotten so weak,” said his son, Kevin Amerson. “They stopped taking care of him. They abandoned him.”

As more than 90,000 of the nation’s long-term care residents have died in a pandemic that has pushed staffs to the limit, advocates for the elderly say a tandem wave of death separate from the virus has quietly claimed tens of thousands more, often because overburdened workers haven’t been able to give them the care they need.

....

5945

In the documents that I have seen from the CDC, they combine people who had the flu and died from flu acquired pneumonia with people who died from pneumonia as the ONLY infection. So the yearly flu deaths are greatly inflated. Why to they inflate the flu deaths?
I'm glad you asked that question! The CDC works with Big Pharma to scare the public into getting the flu shots. The actual deaths from the flu each year has usually ranged from 350 to 14,000. If you go to to the CDC web site you can see the number of flu deaths and the number of pneumonia deaths and they draw lines to the right of the page and combine the lines and the combined figure is listed as flu deaths. This makes the COVID-19 mortality rate even greater in comparison with the true flu death rate.

michaelpschmitt

Your facts are wrong, There are typically 50,000-100,000 flu deaths per year in the US;https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/burden/past-seasons.html. The number of people who have had Covid is 8 times higher than people who have been officially diagnosed with it https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/health/2020/11/26/covid-news-cdc-joe-biden-los-angeles-coronavirus/6427266002/ Therefore the actual mortality for the flu is double your number and for Covid19 the rate is 8 times less than your number. Covid19 mortality is less than double Using the last complete numbers from CDC in 2017 the numbers for the Fku compared to Covid19 are