Common questions and conclusions about seasonal flu in the US

The purpose of these questions and answers is to narrow down the real extend of danger from this year flavor of seasonal flu – COVID-19.

It turned out that some very basic COVID-19 questions do have answers on WHO and CDC sites. Let us dive in.

 

Question

How many COVID-19 infections are asymptomatic?

According to WHO (https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/situation-reports/20200306-sitrep-46-covid-19.pdf?sfvrsn=96b04adf_4#:~:text=For%20COVID%2D19%2C,infections%2C%20requiring%20ventilation. – March 6, 2020) For COVID-19, data to date suggest that 80% of infections are mild or asymptomatic

According to CDC (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/planning-scenarios.html – July 10, 2020) current best estimate for percent of infections that are asymptomatic is 40% but scenario estimates are ranging from 10 to 70%.

Why this question is important? As people visiting a doctor on all medical concerns and get tested, we discover more and more COVID-19 cases.  It shows a normal spread of a respiratory disease among population which develops an immunity to the disease. So when you hear a number of millions of COVID-19 cases – remember that at least 40% of these cases are asymptomatic.

 

 

Question

How long does it take to develop a flu vaccine?

According to CDC

(https://www.cdc.gov/flu/prevent/vaccine-selection.htm – September 4, 2018)  – “at least six months”.

 

According to WHO (https://www.who.int/csr/disease/swineflu/notes/h1n1_vaccine_20090806/en/ –  2009) – “It takes approximately five to six months for the first supplies of approved vaccine to become available”

 

Question

What is a percentage of people who get infected with flu ever year?

According to CDC for 2018-19 flu season (https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/burden/2018-2019.html –  January 8, 2020) “CDC estimates that influenza was associated with more than 35.5 million illnesses”

 

According to SingleCare (https://www.singlecare.com/blog/flu-statistics-infographic/#:~:text=The%20reason%20you%20hear%20so,every%20other%20year%20on%20average. – Sept 17, 2019) “The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) calculated the annual percentage of the U.S. population infected with the flu, and results showed that about 8 percent of the U.S. population gets sick from the flu—which translates to 26,176,000 million people a year.”

 

According to Pharmacy and Therapeutics site (material provided as a courtesy of MediMedia, USA  – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3278149/ – Oct 2011)

In the U.S. alone, nearly 20% of the population is affected. On average, 25 to 50 million documented influenza cases, 225,000 hospitalizations, and ultimately more than 20,000 deaths occur every year.

 

Why this question is important? Here in the middle of July we are standing only at 3.3 mil cases in the US. All the isolation measures slowed the spread and slowed the immunity building among population.

 

Question

How many people in the US die from flu every year?

According to CDC (https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr68/nvsr68_09-508.pdf – June 24, 2019) in US in 2017 from Influenza and pneumonia died 55,672 people:

 

According to  (https://www.mdlinx.com/article/top-10-causes-of-death-in-the-us-in-2020/MNpEowpA8DXKBUNcbmkpY – February 27, 2020) from Influenza and pneumonia in 2018 in US died in 59,120 people.

 

Question

Does people continue to die from a regular seasonal flu in 2020?

We cannot find data for 2020 for Chronic lower respiratory diseases (2017 US deaths per year 160K) and for Influenza and pneumonia (2017 US deaths per year 55K).  There are 2 potential explanations: either these two categories are lumped together with COVID-19 deaths because they are very hard to distinguish, or statistics is simply not available.  It appears strange that COVID-19  death numbers are reported hourly, but all other categories  of death are not tracked as closely. Discrimination?

 

Question

Can we compare average flu statistics with COVID-19 numbers?

According to (https://www.statista.com/statistics/1109281/covid-19-daily-deaths-compared-to-all-causes/ – July 9th, 2020) on average every day we used to have about 331 deaths from flu and now we are having on average 930 COVID-19 deaths every day.

 

Obviously existing seasonal flu data spreads the total over entire year, and COVID-19 deaths data only takes into consideration 5 months (Feb 15 – Jul 15) of available data.

 

Question

How current 2020 flu does rank against other flues and wars?

According to elemental.medium.com  (https://elemental.medium.com/us-covid-19-deaths-compared-to-diseases-pandemics-wars-2a7495a43280 – July 12, 2020) COVID-19 is number 9 killer in the US:

Final Thoughts

Why Government agencies do not provide data on overall mortality in 2020.  If we do not see the whole picture of US mortality, how can we gauge true COVID-19 impact? We absolutely need to know why people are dying in 2020 compared with previous years.

If 135K COVID-19 deaths in US is so scary, why don’t we triple and quadruple our efforts to fight Heart Disease (647K) and Cancer (600K). Together these two monsters kill more that a million US people every year and yet Governors do not shut down economy for these.  Do you hear about dangers of processed foods?  Does media tries to stop dependency on drugs and expensive medical procedures? Who reports conditions in meat packing factories? Who pushes legislation to protect people from contaminated ingredients? Only a few enthusiasts?  Could all this noise about season flu be a well financed campaign? Very strange.

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