Covid is three times more likely to kill hospital patients than seasonal influenza, according to a study.
Leading indicators at the start of the pandemic suggested the coronavirus was only as deadly as the flu. However, this theory has since been widely refuted, despite data showing that the infection poses a minor threat to anyone but the elderly and vulnerable.
The latest study, based on national data from France, reveals details of the real differences between the two viruses.
It shows that 15,104 of 89,530 (16.9 percent) Covid-19 patients examined died in the hospital, compared to just 2,640 of 45,819 (5.8 percent) flu patients examined.
The comparative death rate from Covid-19 was particularly high among those over 50 and children.
Covid-19 is three times more likely to kill hospital patients than seasonal influenza, according to a study. There is no significant difference in the child mortality rate
This graph shows the death rate among Covid-19 patients (blue line) and flu patients (red) in the hospital
The illustration shows a graph showing the child mortality rate for the viral infections Covid (blue) and flu (red).
The comprehensive study, published in the Lancet Respiratory Medicine Journal, also found that patients at Covid-19 hospitals are more likely to be admitted to the intensive care unit than those with the flu.
A total of 14,585 Covid patients were admitted to the intensive care unit, while 4,926 flu patients required the same care. These are 16.3 percent and 10.8 percent of the patients, respectively.
The researchers also found that the average time in the intensive care unit was eight days for the flu and 15 days for Covid-19.
The study compared anonymized data from Covid-19 patients in France between March 1 and April 30 with flu patients hospitalized between December 1, 2018 and February 28, 2019.
This graph shows the number of Covid-19 patients (blue) and the flu (red) as a percentage of hospital admissions that required ICU admission, sorted by age
The figure shows a graph that shows the number of infected children who needed support in the ICU as a percentage of all hospitalizations
The comprehensive study, published in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine Journal, also found that Covid-19 patients were more likely to be admitted to the intensive care unit. A total of 14,585 Covid patients were admitted to the intensive care unit, while 4,926 flu patients required the same care. These are 16.3 percent and 10.8 percent of the patients (file photo)
Covid-19 can, in rare cases, cause PARALYSIS in children
A coronavirus infection can, in very rare cases, lead to paralysis in children, a new study shows.
Researchers from the University of Manchester looked at neurological symptoms in 38 unusual cases of Covid-19 in people under 18.
Twenty-six of the children made a full recovery and six did better when the study was published in The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health.
Four children in the study died from other infections like TB and MRSA after Covid-19 made them more vulnerable.
And two of the teens in the study were paralyzed after the virus reached their spinal cord and caused inflammation.
One of the children became paraplegic and needed a ventilator to breathe through a tracheostomy. The child is also fed into the stomach using a gastrostomy tube.
The second child is also ventilator dependent with a tracheostomy because they are unable to breathe on their own and had a tube in their stomach to feed them.
Professor Catherine Quantin, co-director of the study at Dijon University Hospital, said: “Our study is the largest ever to compare the two diseases and confirms that COVID-19 is far more serious than the flu.
"The finding that the COVID-19 death rate was three times higher than seasonal influenza is particularly noteworthy when you remember that the 2018/2019 flu season was the worst in France in terms of number of deaths in the last five years was. "
Patients with Covid were twice as likely to receive invasive ventilation during hospital treatment as influenza patients, and more than one in four patients with COVID-19 experienced acute respiratory failure, compared with 20 percent of influenza patients.
Dr. Pascale Tubert-Bitter, Research Director at the Institut für Santé und Recherche Médicale (Inserm) and co-leader of the study, said: “Taken together, our results clearly show that COVID-19 is much more serious than seasonal influenza.
"At a time when no treatment has been shown to be effective in preventing serious illness in COVID-19 patients, this study underscores the importance of all physical prevention measures and underscores the importance of effective vaccines."
The study also looked at Covid cases in children and confirmed previous results that Covid-19 rarely causes serious illness in children.
Of all Covid cases, children under 18 made up only 1.4 percent, while children made up 19.5 percent of the flu cases.
When children under the age of five are hospitalized with coronavirus infection, there is a 2.3 percent chance that intensive care will be required. For the flu it is only 0.9 percent.
However, the death rate was roughly the same, the researchers found.
Why children are less affected by Covid-19
According to one study, children are at lower risk of developing severe Covid symptoms and dying from the disease due to a variety of differences between the body and immune systems of adolescents and adults.
Australian researchers have identified several specific physiological differences that may explain why Covid-19 is rarely serious or fatal in children.
This includes strong, undamaged cells in your blood vessels that prevent inflammation and clotting. increased vitamin D levels; an immune system that is both fast acting and well oiled; and fewer ACE2 receptors that the coronavirus uses to infect cells.
Researchers from Melbourne at the Melbourne Children's Research Institute reviewed all currently available research on the subject and analyzed the results to determine the reasons for age-related differences in the severity and symptoms of Covid-19.
A key finding was that in many adults with severe Covid-19 so-called endothelial cells, which line the heart and blood vessels, are already damaged.
Patients with already damaged endothelial cells are known to have a higher risk of blood clots, strokes and heart attacks. SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, also infects these cells and causes inflammation.
Adults also have a "higher density and increased affinity" of ACE2, the receptor on the surface of cells that the virus hijacks and uses to infiltrate cells, the researchers write.
ACE2 is more common as children get older, which may explain why older children are more likely to develop symptoms than toddlers.
Another factor that contributes to the relative immunity of children is the fact that they have recently been widely vaccinated against other diseases, including MMR.
This can provide protective benefits that are off-target and effectively train the immune system and have it fire on all cylinders.
Children are also more likely to be infected with other pathogens, catch colds and pick up germs on the playground. This can help build a strong natural immune system in a process called "trained immunity," the researchers say.
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