COVID-19 is definitely not a “flu”, as some say at the outset: it kills three times more people in hospital than the classic seasonal flu, according to a French study.
Also read: New record for everyday cases in Ontario
The study, published in the medical journal The Lancet Respiratory Medicine, is based on data from more than 135,000 French patients, which means that 89,530 people were hospitalized for COVID-19 in March and April 2020 and 45,819 were hospitalized for influenza between December 2018. And February 2019.
The mortality rate of patients with COVID-19 is three times higher than that of influenza patients: 16.9% (more than 15,000 deaths in 89,500 patients) and 5.8% later (more than 2,600 deaths in 45,800 patients).
“Our study is by far the largest comparison of the two diseases and confirms that COVID is more severe than the flu,” said Catherine Quantin, a professor at Dijon University Hospital and a researcher.
“The fact that the death rate from COVID is three times higher than the seasonal flu is particularly striking when we consider that the 2018-2019 winter flu was the worst in France in the last five years. The number of deaths,” she said.
The study shows that hospitalized patients for COVID-19 are more likely to be admitted to intensive care / intensive care: 16.3% of them need to be treated in these services assigned to the most severe cases, compared to 10.8% for those with influenza.
Similarly, COVID patients had a longer stay in intensive care than flu patients (15 days compared to eight days).
In addition, there are fewer children and adolescents for coronavirus than the flu. At this age 1.4% of the total patients in the first case and 19.5% in the second case.
In selected periods, the researchers found that COVID-19 killed 13 children under the age of five and caused the flu.
All of this data is taken from an administrative base called the Program for Information Systems (PMSI), which includes both public and private hospitals.
However, the authors may notice a limitation to their study: testing procedures for influenza are unquestionably hospital-to-hospital, while those for COVID-19 are more standard, leading to lower levels of estimate of the number of hospitalized patients for influenza.
In addition, it cannot be said whether 2018-19 is representative of all influenza seasons in terms of seasonal influenza deaths.