SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV)- While COVID-19 and the seasonal flu can often have the same symptoms, the two are very different according to experts.
Both the Flu and the Coronavirus tend to spread through respiratory droplets, but there is key difference. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention COVID-19 spreads twice as fast and to more people overtime.
“That’s one of the concerns about the new strain in the UK,” said Dr. Lawton Davis, director of the Coastal Health District, “and I think there’s a new strain in South Africa.”
“They are more infectious or transmit more easily than what we’ve been seeing here,” he added.
There have been misleading comparisons between the flu and COVID-19 in recent months, most notably from the President of the United States.
President Trump claimed the flu was more lethal, taking 100,000 lives a year when in-fact, rough estimates show it kills between 12,000 and 60,000 thousand people annually.
As of today, COVID-19’s death toll is nearing 340,000 nationwide.
“Most of what you see with influenza, you know, the bad stuff, is related to the respiratory tract and developing superimposed pneumonia,” said Davis, “but with COVID, it can cause a variety of things and affect a variety of organ systems.”
While flu season hasn’t hit its peak yet, Dr. Davis says they’ve documented virtually no infections this year.
He says because it’s less infectious, COVID-19 safety measures are even more effective in preventing the flu from spreading.
“Wearing a mask, watching your distance, and washing your hands as we know helps prevent the spread of COVID,” said Davis, “and as I said, it’s even more effective in preventing the spread of influenza.”
Davis says places like Australia, where flu season has already come and gone experienced virtually no infections.
COVID-19 cases locally, however, are seeing a surge likely due to the Thanksgiving holiday. Davis anticipates another bump in cases after the new year.
“I encourage people to be very thoughtful and careful with how they celebrate New Years’ and if you can do something at home with your family and celebrate with others remotely,” said Davis, “I think that would be wise.”