Head of the Center for Infectious Diseases and AIDS, prof. According to Saulius Čaplinskas, a self-respecting virologist, immunologist or other similar doctor will not say that a coronavirus is the same as the flu.
“There are certainly common points, but there are also differences. So to say the same thing would be misleading to the public. Here are some extremes.
Too much to scare people into talking about the toque mode starts to reverse the fact that the virus is starting to believe at all. The damage is the same as saying that there is no coronavirus and that the flu is the same as the cold, ”he said.
8 times more contagious than the flu
According to the interlocutor, although COVID-19 and influenza are caused by viruses, it should be understood that the diseases are different.
“Yes, both infections have damage to the respiratory tract and the first symptoms are very similar. However, the properties of viruses are different, so they can affect human health in different ways, ”he noted.
S. Čaplinskas points out that it is now clear that the rate of spread of COVID-19 is 8 times higher than influenza.
“In other words, if one person becomes infected with another and another with 5 waves of infections, there will be 8 times more people infected with coronavirus than with the flu.
Therefore, in order to stop the spread of this disease, it is necessary for one person not to infect more than one person. Then gradually the epidemic no longer spreads, ”he said.
On the other hand, the virologist points out that this is gradual and occurs, especially in the case of influenza, because some have immunity, others are vaccinated,
According to him, the effectiveness of influenza vaccines, if well adapted to the strain of the virus that has begun to spread in society, can reach 60-70%.
Distribution times vary
“Even in the case of the flu, the virus spreads to a person a day earlier and until symptoms appear. This can last an average of 7 days, sometimes longer for children.
In the case of COVID-19, it is clear that the distribution period may be longer, but most of the distribution occurs during symptoms and this spread is faster, ”explains S. Čaplinskas.
At the same time, he recalled that in the case of outbreaks of coronaviruses related to SARS and MERS, the difference was that humans were mostly infected with symptoms. Therefore, it was much easier to eliminate the occurrence.
When immunity is greater than the enemy than the virus
The interviewee noted that the clinic of the two diseases is also different.
“Yes, in both cases the airways are damaged and the way is open for other complications – viral and especially bacteria.
Bacterial complications are the basis of complications from influenza and death. In the case of COVID-19, however, on the one hand, the virus has a property that can damage many organs, but on the other hand, the immune system itself can overreact, causing cytokine storms. By trying to defeat the virus in this way, immunity can do more harm than the virus itself, ”said S. Čaplinskas.
It is remembered until the closest time to the onset of the flu
Speaking about the clinic and symptoms of the disease, LSMU infectious disease professor Alvydas Laiškonis noted that in the case of the flu, a person can usually tell when their health has deteriorated to the nearest day and time.
“Usually, the flu clinic has a very sudden onset, so usually a person remembers when it started to get cold and started to break bones. The flu doesn’t lose its flavor and smell.
Headache is a common symptom, but there is no shortage of breathing that is more common with coronavirus. Moreover, to the extent that patients have to deal with this, they also report a very high level of vulnerability, ”the doctor shared his notes.
Within a few years the flu “passes”
At the same time, A. Laiškonis was attracted to another problem – often the flu, trying to “walk” strong people.
However, according to the professor, the deception of the flu appears here – later it can cause inflammation of the heart muscle, myocarditis, which occurs 2-3 months after the disease occurs, inflammation of the kidneys, even after a while, even after 2-3 years.
“The most common complications of the flu are the so-called primary flu pneumonia, which is caused by the flu virus itself and is the most serious pneumonia. Another thing is that the flu” opens the door “to a bacterial infection and causes it. streptococcus staphylococcus caused by pneumonia.
Another complication is sinusitis. Thus, the flu has very unpleasant complications. But at least we can be happy because we have treatment and prevention, ”A. Laiškonis summed up.
Children get sick more often
The teacher also mentioned another difference: many children have the flu.
“5 to 10 percent. Populations catch the flu, but not all of them are included in the statistics. No effort is made to diagnose all cases of the flu, especially if it is not severe, if hospital care is not needed. – up to 20 percent.
Coronavirus cases, on the other hand, account for 3% of children with coronaviruses. And the clinic is different, and the infectivity is different. That is why the discussions about the education of children and groups are less ambiguous, ”the interlocutor compared.
Head viruses relocate “weaker” ones
Although cases of the flu have already been reported, they are somewhat less controlled. According to A. Laiškonis, there is a theory in virology that if two viral pathogens are present at the same time, usually the stronger virus removes the others.
“Coronavirus is common now, and yet we have a lot of flu. But now we don’t have a lot. But we can be happy that we have the vaccine and the treatment and the problem arises when it comes to distinguishing whether it’s the flu or the coronavirus. but if it is not found, it is left for another virus, ”he said.
As S. Čaplinskas pointed out, when a virus changes so that it can infect human cells more quickly, it gains an advantage over other viruses.
“When a new virus crosses the species barrier and begins to spread from person to person, it must be remembered that it has changed and that it is easier to spread a virus that has adapted than it has long been known.
But as in nature, the virus’s goal is to survive and multiply, so its goal is not to change direction to kill its hosts. This is not the case with mutations that make the clinic a more pathogenic and malignant course, ”he added.
Have you died more than the flu?
The portal Tv3.lt reminded that it has written that the death rate of Covid-19 is lower than that announced in the spring, but that it is difficult to compare the death rate of influenza.
“When deaths are recorded, if a person does not die from the flu, even if it is, but has not been diagnosed, then in itself a person will not fall into the category of people who have died from the flu.
Papuola, if they were not diagnosed with the flu, when the clinic was severe, was about 20 a year, but when the virus was “near” these other deaths are not in the statistics.
In the case of coronavirus, the opposite is sometimes the case, especially in the beginning, when a person is reported to have died of coronavirus, but the question is whether or not they have been diagnosed. So, based only on death statistics, if there is no more accurate analysis, it is possible to draw the wrong conclusions, ”said S. Čaplinskas.
He recalled that today the death rate of COVID-19 is as narrow as it would be in a severe and intense flu pandemic.
At the same time, the professor noted that the cold season is always associated with a higher number of deaths due to cardiovascular disease, lung disease, diabetes, cancer and other diseases, as various viruses worsen the condition of people with chronic diseases.
“Old age is not a risk factor in itself, but the most important thing is that immunity is weakened and more chronic diseases become more common. And it has always been seen that these infections increase in cold weather, not cold weather, but viruses – flu and other colds. only when the disease arises can complications, the spectrum of clinical phenomena, be different, ”he said.