Will Covid become less deadly than the flu?

The majority of people infected with Covid-19 in the UK now have a slightly lower risk of death than those with seasonal flu, according to an analysis of official data.

The Financial Times reported that due to “a combination of high immunogenicity and reduced severity of the Omicron variant”, the prevalence of Covid-19 Infections leading to death fell to 35 per 100,000 cases.

By contrast, according to calculations by principal data reporter John Burn-Murdoch and medical reporter Oliver Barnes, the same number of flu cases would result in about 40 deaths.

At the height of last winter’s Alpha wave, before the UK’s mass vaccination program began, Covid-19 had killed more than 1,000 of the 100,000 infected Britons.

“Is Omicron the same as the flu? Is not. But the vaccine made the individual risks very similar,” said Dr Raghib Ali, senior clinical research associate in epidemiology at the University of Cambridge. So a “major spike” in hospitalizations or deaths is “unlikely” while Omicron remains the dominant strain, he added.

A separate analysis of government figures by Daily mail bringing the death rate from Covid-19 infection to about 0.03%. The rate for seasonal flu is between 0.01% and 0.05%, according to the report, suggesting that for the first time in a pandemic, “two viruses now pose a similar threat.”

Transmission coefficient

Although the death rate from Covid infections has dropped, experts still call for caution.

Christina Pagel, professor of operations studies at University College London and a member of the Independent Sage science team, told the FT that Omicron’s rapid transmissibility means that “the threat posed by Covid remains unlikely. considered the equivalent of influenza”.

The Burn-Murdoch newspaper agrees that although Covid-19 has become less deadly on a per-infection basis, the “absolute volume” of infections means the risk of death over the winter. because respiratory disease is still “on the rise”. These deaths are about 50% higher than in a “typical” flu season, demonstrating that the virus is still significantly increasing the winter disease burden, he said in a statement. Twitter topic.

Professor Paul Hunter, an infectious disease expert from the University of East Anglia, told the Daily Mail that “it remains uncertain about the impact of future variants”.

Equal nature The journal noted last month, “there is no guarantee that the next dominant variant will germinate from the ‘mild’ Omicron clade of the Sars-CoV-2 family tree”.

And as the Mail points out, real-time infection mortality “can vary significantly” in countries around the world “based on prior immunity, prevalence of obesity and other conditions.” other health status, and population age structure”.

Professor Julian Hiscox, head of infection and global health at the University of Liverpool, also warned against “smugness”, and called for an expansion of the UK’s spring fighter program from only those people over 75 years old and those who are immunosuppressed to all people over 50 years old.

“We wanted to avoid coordinating with the additional booster now and then getting caught in the hind legs,” Hiscox told the FT.

“All of this could be academic if a new variant emerges,” he warned. Will Covid become less deadly than the flu?

Fry Electronics Team

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