Comparing coronavirus and the flu with a doctor from St. Francis Medical Center

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MONROE, La (03/10/20) — Coronavirus continues to spread, with two more presumptive positive cases of the virus have been confirmed in Louisiana, bringing the total to three. Although the virus continues to spread, flu season is still in full swing.

Experts say the coronavirus and the flu are very similar in presentation. “They both can have myalgia or muscle aches, they both can have a fever, they both can have a dry cough,” said Dr. James G. Smith, Pulmonary, Critical Care Medicine. They only have a few slight differences.

“Headache tends to be more prominent with the flu, the coronavirus you’ll see more dry cough and some shortness of breath,” said Dr. Smith.

Coronavirus also remains different from the symptoms of a common cold. “You’ll have less rhinorrhea or no runny nose, nasal stuffiness will be a lot less with coronavirus,” said Dr. Smith.

So why is there a pandemonium regarding coronavirus?

“It’s going to have a mortality rate of around half of 1% to maybe 1% once we get true numbers in. We don’t have a true sampling because we don’t have widespread testing yet,” said Dr. Smith.

Smith says the number of people who get the flu is higher than the number of people who get coronavirus, however, the ratio of cases to deaths between the two, makes the coronavirus about five to ten times worse than the flu.

“The flu has a mortality rate of .1% so it’s very low. It’s just the flu is very prominent, so we see a lot more flu so it’s in a lot more people, but once the coronavirus ramps up, we do expect to see it,” said Dr. Smith.

Smith also says the chance of getting sick from coronavirus is very low unless you’re over the age of 60 and have significant medical problems or you’re elderly and over the age of 80.

Dr. Smith says the pandemonium surrounding buying hand sanitizer and toilet paper is not that necessary considering we don’t normally do that for the flu. However, Smith does say it’s good to be a little prepared for when it makes its way to our area.

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