The ongoing coronavirus outbreak has created havoc across China and some other nations, including the United States, promoting people to wear masks and cancel their international trips.
However, in the United States, it is the flu that is causing a bigger issue than the new coronavirus, aka 2019-nCoV.
Flu, like the new coronavirus, is highly contagious and can spread from person-to-person, causing fever and cough. The new coronavirus has not led to any deaths in the U.S. so far; however, flu has killed nearly 10,000 Americans since October, as per the new federal data released Friday.
Epidemiologist Brandon Brown from the University of California, Riverside, said, “Here in the U.S., this [flu] is what is killing us. Why should we be afraid of something that has not killed people here in this country?”
So far, the new coronavirus sickened 11,791 and killed 259 people in China, while the United States reported 7 confirmed cases, with no deaths.
On Thursday, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared 2019-nCoV a “global health emergency,” with US officials advising Americans not to travel to China.
In California alone, there have been 211 deaths due to flu since October, promoting that flu is currently a much bigger issue than 2019-nCoV.
However, the flu has not captivated people’s attention in a way that the new coronavirus has been doing. The new virus has caused a lot of anxiety and panic among people across the globe, unlike the flu.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 19 million Americans have had the flu this season.
Brown said, “This is something I guess we’re used to so we don’t really pay attention to it much. I think we need to shift our attention back to the flu.”
CDC officials recommend people to get vaccinated against the flu. “Get your flu shot, take measures to prevent getting sick with the many things in this country we have to get sick from,” said Dr. ShiraDoron, infectious disease expert at Tufts Medical Center.
“The likelihood of an American being killed by the flu compared to being killed by the coronavirus is probably approaching infinity,” added Dr. Doron.