VIDEO: Regence Medical Director discusses flu versus COVID-19 infection and fatality rates

By Regence
April 29, 2020

There is still much we don't know about the COVID-19 virus and how the pandemic will change moving forward. Our medical community, however, has made a lot of progress in providing guidelines and information for how best to protect ourselves and others. This includes understanding the difference between symptoms caused by the common cold and flu versus the new coronavirus.

According to Dr. Drew Oliveira, senior executive medical director with Regence, people should look at COVID-19 and the flu differently, despite the fact that both are respiratory illnesses that carry similar symptoms.

Recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released its preliminary 2019-2020 end-of-flu season “burden” estimates—including the number of illnesses, medical visits, hospitalizations and deaths associated with the flu that occur in the US. While the number of total flu cases this season are much higher in our country than confirmed COVID-19 cases, COVID-19 carries a much higher infection rate—twice as high as the flu.

COVID v flu graphicv2

Dr. Oliveira offers more insights into the similarities and differences between COVID-19 and the below:


Dr. Oliveira recommends that people continue to follow guidelines set out by the CDC, including social distancing and wearing a mask when in public. If you start to experience more severe symptoms, such as trouble breathing, lethargy or a fever that won’t break, call your doctor or 911 in an emergency.