Flu kills 24 in our two counties, more than COVID-19

The flu virus.

BY SARA TABIN
Daily Post Staff Writer

COVID-19 has killed one woman in Santa Clara County, but it has yet to surpass the flu which killed 19 people in the past five months.

Nobody has died from the coronavirus in San Mateo County, but five died from the flu.

That brings to 24 the number of people who have died from the flu in the two counties.

The Post received the flu death numbers from Sept. 29 to Feb. 29 from Ronald Owens of the California Department of Public Health. Owens said the numbers were taken from influenza-coded death certificates from each county.

Owens did not respond to a question about the flu victims’ ages. In the past, health officials had not included anyone 65 or older in their flue death counts, so the actual number of people who have died from the flu may be higher than these figures indicate.

The novel coronavirus, also called COVID-19, has symptoms in common with the flu and the common cold such as fever and coughing. The coronavirus can also cause shortness of breath. The flu has a death rate of 0.1%. Last month, officials were saying the death rate of coronavirus was 4%, but yesterday Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said the death rate from COVID-19 is only 1%.

Both the flu and the coronavirus kill elderly people at a higher rate than young people, but the flu also kills young children at higher rates while the coronavirus seems to impact kids less than adults.

Health experts are advising people to wash their hands frequently to prevent both illnesses.

The Post obtained the flu death information from the state after San Mateo County officials were not able to provide the number of deaths.

Santa Clara County posted online that six people died from the flu between Sept. 29 and Feb. 29. These numbers are lower than the state ones because the county only tracks flu deaths for residents under age 65. The county does not track deaths for older people even though they are more likely to die from the flu.

There have been 53 people under 65 from Santa Clara County who have been sent to the intensive care unit because of the flu, according to county numbers. This season 391 people have tested positive for the flu. Of those, 297 cases were diagnosed since early January.

There have been 48 cases of the coronavirus in Santa Clara County and 15 in San Mateo County. The coronavirus outbreak began in China in early January.

8 Comments

  1. It probably would be more accurate to quote Dr. Fauci as stating that COVID-19 is AT LEAST ten times as deadly as the Flu.
    And for older people, especially those with diabetes and/or high blood pressure, the lethality increases sharply.
    If the rate of infection is not throttled, then there will not be enough beds for the (~ 15% – 20% of) patients who may require breathing assistance to survive the illness.
    Also, since containment has failed, we’ll likely see a return of the infection this fall. No joy there.

    • Jerry is asking a trick question. Anybody who has studied this knows that viruses can’t be contained. They usually go away when temperatures rise in the spring, but there’s no way to contain them. They’ll just jump from host to host until there are no more hosts. This whole push to close businesses and schools is silly because it won’t contain a virus. Just a lot of uneducated people fooling themselves into thinking that if they destroy their country, they can solve a problem.

  2. @Just Another PA Retiree and Angela,

    Dr. Anthony Fauci, who originally claimed the COVID-19 fatality rate was 10 times the rate of the common flu, is walking back that claim.

    Originally he said the COVID-19 mortality rate was 1.0%, or 10 times that of the common flu. Now he’s co-authored a paper for the New England Journal of Medicine in which he admits the mortality rate is 0.28%. That’s a huge error. An error that contributed to the level of panic in the United States.

    The 0.28% rate is exceptionally low, especially when compared to that of the SARS and MERS epidemics, which peaked at 9% and 36% respectively.

    Here’s a link to Dr. Fauci’s article: https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMe2002387

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