Flu vs. Coronavirus

Grace Campanello, Journalist

The Coronavirus has been the number one thing on everyone’s mind for weeks now. But do people really understand what the virus is? It is defined as the following: “Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more serious diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome and Severe Acute respiratory Syndrome” (World). It is evident that the disease has spread to the United States from China through travelers. Common signs of infection “include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath, and breathing difficulties” (World). Furthermore, “Severe cases include pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure, and even death” (World). The symptoms are very scary, especially the chance of death, and have led people to panic. 

As of February 11, 2020, the official Coronavirus death toll in China hit 1,016 (Updates). In the United States, “there are at least 12 confirmed cases” of the virus (Vera). However, you should be worrying more about the flu. You are more likely to die from or catch the flu than the Coronavirus (Henry). According to the World Health Organization, seasonal influenza epidemics cause 3 million to 5 million severe cases every year. Also, the epidemics kill up to 650,000 individuals each year worldwide. Furthermore, according to the CDC, there have been 19 million flu cases, 180,000 hospitalizations, and 10,000 deaths in the United States this flu season.

Even though these are overwhelming statistics, there are many ways to prevent yourself from actually contracting the flu. Ipswich English Teacher, Mr. Sidmore, says in response to inquiries surrounding the flu shot that everyone should get the vaccine but “I don’t think it will prevent the flu but the science behind it says that it makes the flu much less severe if you do get it.” Actions such as washing your hands and covering your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze will also reduce your chances of getting the flu.

IHS English Teacher, Mr. Sidmore

What are my chances of getting the Coronavirus? This virus is transmitted between animals and people (World). Surprisingly, the Coronavirus has only infected at least 8 people in the United States (Henry). Despite the explosion of negative talk on the Coronavirus in the media, your chances of contracting the disease is very low. Ipswich High School sophomore, Morgan Bodwell, has agreed that the “[Coronavirus] is a big topic on the news because the media has blown it up to an extreme so it’s more than it actually is.” As it turns

IHS Sophomore, Morgan Bodwell

out, “The Coronavirus is common in many different species of animals, including bats and animals” (Centers). Furthermore, the virus can “evolve and infect humans and then spread between humans” even though it is extremely rare (Centers). So there is a possibility for someone to become ill, but it is very slim.

If you think about it, in order to catch a cold or the flu, you have to be around people who already have the pathogens in their systems. “Viruses are contracted by contact or close contact with another person who has a virus or bacterial infection” (Ruben). If you stay clear of contagious people, you are increasing your chances of not getting sick. This system can also be applied to the Coronavirus. Prevention strategies include “regular hand washing, covering mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, thoroughly cooking meat and eggs” (World). Worrying about the Coronavirus is something that is difficult to avoid but it is important to know that this illness is rare and there are many precautions you can take to lessen the chances of contracting it.