Catalina Island Medical Center

Why is media making the coronavirus such a big deal when influenza and dengue fever are both higher than last year?

Last Updated: March 18, 2020

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Illnesses like influenza and dengue are certainly serious and affect thousands of people every year. There are a few key differences between those illnesses and COVID-19. The COVID-19 virus is much more contagious than most common viruses. This is partly because many people are not showing symptoms, so it is being quickly spread around communities – this is why it is so important for everyone to stay home and practice social distancing. Also, we know that for COVID-19, the populations who are most vulnerable have significantly higher mortality rates with COVID-19 than they do for influenza or other viral illnesses. Therefore, even though the total number of cases of COVID-19 may be fewer than influenza – the increase in mortality rate means that a greater percentage of people will be hospitalized, in critical care, or may die from complications of COVID-19. Most hospitals are already running at near capacity during the influenza season – because COVID-19 is spreading so quickly, hospitals and intensive care units may become overwhelmed and run out of resources more quickly than they would with illnesses like influenza.

¿Por qué los medios de comunicación dicen que el coronavirus es tan gran cosa mientras que la gripe y la fiebre dengue están ambos más prevalentes?

Enfermedades como la influenza y la dengue son muy graves y afectan a miles de personas cada año. Hay unas diferencias importantes entre aquellas enfermedades y COVID-19. El COVID-19 es mucho más contagioso que los viruses communes. Esto es en parte porque muchas personas no tiene síntomas y entonces el virus está propagado rápidamente por las comunidades – esto es la razón de porque es importante practicar el distanciamiento social. Además, sabemos que los poblaciones más vulnerables tienen tasas de mortalidad más altas con COVID-19 que la gripe o otros enfermedades virales. Entonces, aunque el número total de casos de COVID-19 está menos que la gripe – la aumento de tasa de mortalidad significa que un porcentaje mayor de gente serán hospitalizadas, en cuidados críticos, o pueden morir de complicaciones de COVID-19. La mayoría de hospitales ya están funcionando casi a su capacidad durante la temporada de la gripe y debido a que el COVID-19 está propagando tan rápidamente, los hospitales y las unidades de cuidados intensivos se pueden convertir abrumados y quedar sin recursos más rápidos que hubieran con la gripe.

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