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Is the coronavirus more ‘deadly’ than the flu? Not exactly

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

What’s more deadly — the flu, SARS or the new coronavirus discovered in China?

What's more deadly — the flu, SARS or the new coronavirus discovered in China?

There are different ways to look at it and even knowledgeable folks sometimes say "deadly" when they may mean "lethal".

Lethality means the capacity to cause death, or how often a disease proves fatal.

Chinese scientists who looked at nearly 45,000 confirmed cases in the current coronavirus outbreak, now named COVID-19, concluded the death rate was 2.3 per cent.

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases has released images of COVID-19 attacking cells.

There remain questions about whether all cases are being counted - infected people with only mild symptoms may be missing from the tally.

That means the true fatality rate may be lower.

Deadly is a broader concept that takes in how far and easily a virus spreads.

Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) proved fatal in about 10 per cent of cases in the 2003 outbreak but was controlled quickly and spread to about 8000 people in all.

The flu's mortality rate is 0.1 per cent, yet it kills hundreds of thousands around the world each year because it infects millions.

So, the size of the outbreak matters as much as the lethality in terms of how deadly a disease is.

The death toll from coronavirus has reached 1873 globally, with all but two on the Chinese mainland.

More than 73,000 cases have been reported worldwide.

Some 780 million people are still living under some form of restrictive movement in China.

Source: 9News

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