Covid-19 ‘definitively’ greater threat to life than seasonal flu, with 3.5 times higher risk of death, says new Canadian study

Covid-19 ‘definitively’ greater threat to life than seasonal flu, with 3.5 times higher risk of death, says new Canadian study

A new study from Canada has found that the risk of death from Covid-19 is three-and-a-half times higher than the threat posed by influenza, while also dispelling the myth that the disease tends not to affect younger people.

The findings were published in Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) and covered hospitalizations for both influenza and Covid-19 between November 1, 2019 and June 30, 2020 across seven major hospitals in the Toronto and Mississauga areas.

All patients in the study were either admitted for general treatment in the hospital or to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

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The study compared 783 hospitalizations, of 763 patients, for influenza and 1027 hospitalizations, of 972 patients, for Covid-19.

The majority of coronavirus patients had few, if any, underlying illnesses and 21 percent of this group were below 50 years of age, dispelling another misconception that Covid-19 mainly affects older people. 

“Nearly one in three adults younger than 50 hospitalized with Covid-19 required intensive care, and nearly one in 10 required an unplanned readmission to hospital after discharge,” Dr. Amol Verma, from St. Michael’s Hospital, Unity Health Toronto, and the University of Toronto said. 

Those admitted for Covid-19 were more likely to require ICU treatment, prolonged use of ventilators and remained hospitalized for longer than influenza patients. 

“Patients admitted to hospital in Ontario with Covid-19 had a 3.5 times greater risk of death, 1.5 times greater use of the ICU, and 1.5 times longer hospital stays than patients admitted with influenza,” Verma said, while taking the opportunity to underscore that the pandemic is definitively more lethal than seasonal influenza. 

Similar findings were reported in the US and Europe.

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