The early days of the COVID-19 pandemic saw plenty of naysayers, with many arguing the virus presented no more danger than the flu.
“Just because one gets the virus doesn't mean they will die, the same as seasonal flu,” claimed one letter writer last April. “The facts are there to review, but the media are only reporting some of the facts and promoting hysteria.”
A year later, it's possible to compare 12 months of the coronavirus' effects with years of flu data, using figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. USAFacts, a nonpartisan initiative that tracks demographic, financial and performance information as a public service, puts the numbers to the test:
• The 2017-18 flu season was the deadliest in the past decade. Around 61,000 people died from influenza. As of mid-March, almost 529,000 Americans had died of COVID-19. That's eight times the number of deaths in the worst of the flu seasons.
• The 2019-20 flu season saw about 22,000 people die of influenza, the second-lowest death total in the past 10 years. The 2011-12 flu season claimed about 12,000 lives.
• COVID-19 has claimed an average of 36,000 more lives per month when compared to the 2017-18 flu season.