Is coronavirus worse than the regular flu?

Coronavirus is spread through close contact with an infected person (Picture: EPA)

The coronavirus outbreak spread across the world hard and fast, and with the chaos has come much speculation.

Among it is the claim coronavirus is no different from the seasonal flu and both infectious respiratory illnesses should be treated the same.

Both viruses share the similar symptoms – including a fever, cough and sore throat – and are airborne, spread through cough droplets of an infected person – but should we be more worried about coronavirus than we are about the flu?

Is coronavirus worse than the flu?

While many infected with coronavirus report symptoms similar to the winter flu, coronavirus seems to be more serious, with the speed and spread of the outbreak, as well as its mortality rate pointing to it being more dangerous than the flu.

Influenza kills around 600 people a year in the UK, and between 290,000 to 650,000 people worldwide, according to the World Health Organisation.

While many of those affected by coronavirus have simply shown mild symptoms, some have gone on to develop fluid in the lungs consistent with viral pneumonia.

The virus is more likely to become a severe illness or prove fatal for those with weakened immune systems and older patients.

There are 19 cases of coronavirus in the UK (Picture: Reuters)

WHO’s public health expert – who travelled to China to learn more about the virus and the country’s response to the outbreak – warned the world was ‘simply not ready’ for coronavirus.

Dr Bruce Aylward said: ‘This is a rapidly escalating epidemic in different places that we’ve got to tackle superfast to prevent a pandemic.

‘The fatality rate of coronavirus has been estimated at 1%. If accurate, this would make coronavirus 10 times more deadly than the flu.

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