Why you shouldn’t compare coronavirus to the flu

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LAFAYETTE, LA — Doctors and Lafayette Parish leaders fear too many people are underestimating COVID-19.

Monday the Louisiana Department of Health reported in the region four, 26 are now confirmed killed by covid-19. Lafayette Parish announced its sixth death.

The medical COVID-19 task force of Lafayette Parish brought up two concerns with mayor president Josh Guillory: some people are waiting too long to enter an emergency room and others simply see coronavirus as a worse version of the flu.

“It’s very shocking to me to hear that people are still comparing this to the flu,” declared Dr. Tina Stefanski, the Region 4 Office of Public Health Medical Director.

Around 200 people are currently hospitalized in the Acadiana region who are either positive for COVID-19 or suspected and awaiting a test result. Of those, one-fourth are on ventilators.

Despite this, the Office of Public Health reports too many people are not concerned, thinking the coronavirus is similar to a bad flu season.

“They are not worried, not seeing this as such a big deal. ‘Why are we taking all these measures? What’s the concern?”, remarked Dr. Stefanski.

She said no one should be making the flu vs. coronavirus comparison because the novel coronavirus is far more contagious and deadly.

Someone with the flu typically infects one to one and a half people, but those numbers double with COVID-19. Two in every 100 with the flu become hospitalized, one in five with COVID-19 become hospitalized. And those who are hospitalized from COVID-19 spend twice the amount of time in the hospital, about 11-13 days.
But the biggest difference is in the mortality rate. Coronavirus is 20 to 30 times more deadly than the flu. Two to three percent of people with COVID-19 die from it.

Lafayette Mayor-President Josh Guillory warned, “This virus is more different and more dangerous than the flu.”

Dr. Stefanski mirrored the statement saying, “That’s really a message we need all of you to share with your friends and family, that this virus is more deadly than the flu. It’s easier to catch than the flu. It’s more communicable.”

Another concern of Guillory is some people not going to the hospital when they really should have, like if they are having trouble breathing.

He warned, “Don’t wait until the last moment. If you would normally go to the e-r because you are in an emergency situation, please go.”

Guillory said his medical COVID-19 task force is working to strike the delicate balance of not overcrowding emergency rooms with cases that don’t need to be there while ensuring that there is a capacity for those who really need to go.

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