Head of the Center for Infectious Diseases and AIDS, prof. According to Saulius Čaplinskas, no self-respecting virologist, immunologist or other doctor in a similar field will say that coronavirus is the same as influenza.
“There are definitely things in common, but there are also differences. So to say it’s the same thing would be misleading to the public. Here are some extremes.
Excessive intimidation, talk of curfew reverses the fact that someone starts to disbelieve the virus at all. The same damage is saying there is no coronavirus and the flu is the same as colds, “he said.
8 times more infectious than flu
According to the interloper, although COVID-19 and influenza are caused by viruses, it should be understood that the diseases are different.
“Yes, both infections have damaged airways and the first symptoms are very similar. However, the properties of viruses are different, so they can affect people’s health in different ways, ”he noted.
S. Čaplinskas emphasized that it is now apparent that the spread rate of COVID-19 is approximately 8 times higher than the rate of influenza.
“That is, if one person infects one person with flu and another, then with 5 waves of infection, there will be 8 times more people infected with coronavirus than with flu.
Accordingly, to prevent the spread of such a disease, it is necessary for one person to infect no more than one person. Then gradually there is no longer an epidemic spread, ”he said.
On the other hand, the virologist noted, this is gradual and is happening, especially with regard to influenza, because some people have immunity, some are vaccinated,
According to him, the effectiveness of flu vaccines, if well matched to the strain of the virus that has begun to spread in society, can reach 60-70%.
Delivery times vary
“Also in the case of flu, the virus is spread by a person about a day before and during the onset of symptoms. This can take up to 7 days on average, sometimes longer for children.
In the case of COVID-19, it is clear that the distribution period may be longer, but it is mainly distributed during symptoms and that the spread is faster, ”explains S. Čaplinskas.
At the same time, he remembered that in the case of SARS and MERS outbreaks of associated coronaviruses, the difference was that humans were mostly infected at the time of the symptoms. So, it was much easier to delete the cases.
When the enemy is more immune than the virus
The interviewee pointed out that the clinic of the two diseases was also different.
“Yes, in both cases the airways are damaged and the way is opened for other complications – viral and especially bacterial.
Bacterial complications are the foundation for complications of influenza and death. In the case of COVID-19, however, on the one hand, the virus has the property that it can damage many organs, but on the other, the immune system itself can over-react, causing cytokine storms. By trying to defeat the virus in this way, immunity can do more harm than the virus itself, ”says S. Čaplinskas.
Remember to start the flu to the nearest hour
Speaking about the clinic and symptoms of the disease, LSMU professor Alvydas Laiškonis’s infectious doctor noticed that in a flu case, a person can usually tell when their health has deteriorated to the nearest day and hour.
“Usually, the flu clinic gets a very fast start, so one usually remembers when it just started to cool and break bones. Influenza is less characterized by loss of taste and smell.
Headaches are a common symptom, but there is no shortened breath that is more common with coronavirus. In addition, as far as the patients have to deal with it, they complain about the very great weakness that accompanies it, ”the doctor shared his observations.
The “passing” flu is crossing in a few years
At the same time, A. Laiškonis highlighted another problem – often a fluke, strong people trying to “walk”.
However, according to the teacher, flu fraud appears here – it can cause inflammation of the heart muscle, myocarditis, which occurs 2-3 months after the disease, inflammation of the kidneys, which also occurs only after a while, even after 2-3 years.
“The most common complications of influenza are the so-called primary influenza pneumonia caused by the flu virus itself and this is the most serious pneumonia. Another thing is that the flu usually” opens up ” the door ”to bacterial infection and contributes to it streptococcus staphylococcus caused by pneumonia.
Sinusitis is another complication. Therefore, the flu is characterized by very unpleasant complications. But we can at least be proud that we have treatment and prevention, ”A. Laiškonis summarized.
Children get sick more often
The teacher also mentioned another difference – many children have flu.
“From 5 to 10 percent. Flu populations, but not all of them fall into the statistics. No attempt is made to diagnose all cases of flu, especially if it is not. ‘ Seriously, if inpatient care is not needed.It is 5 to 10 populations can get the flu, children – even up to 20 percent.
In contrast, cases of coronavirus account for up to 3 percent of children with coronavirus. And the clinic is different, and the infectiousness is different. Therefore, discussions on education and children’s collections are not so unambiguous, “the interlocutor compared.
Lead viruses replace “weaker”
Although flu is already being reported, it is being monitored to a lesser extent. According to A. Laiškonis, there is such a theory in virology that if there are two viral pathogens at the same time, a stronger virus usually stops the others slightly.
“Coronavirus is more common now, and we’ve had a lot of flu anyway. But now we don’t have much of it yet. But we can be glad we have the vaccine and we’re having the treatment and the problem is differentiation whether it is flu or coronavirus, so if the clinic is very similar, we look for it, but if it is not found, it is abandoned for another virus, “he said.
As S. Čaplinskas noted, when a virus changes so that it can infect a human cell more quickly, it gains an advantage over other viruses.
“When a new virus has crossed the barrier of a species and begun to spread from person to person, it must be remembered that a virus that has changed and adapted is easier to spread than one that has been known for a long time.
But just as in nature, the purpose of the virus is to survive and multiply, so its purpose is not to mutate in that direction to kill its hosts. This is not the case for mutations to a more pathogenic, malignant course at the clinic, ”he added.
Have you died more of the flu than has been announced?
The tv3.lt portal is a reminder that he wrote that the death rate from Covid-19 is lower than that announced in the spring, but it is difficult to compare it with the flu death rate.
“When deaths are recorded, if a person does not die from flu, despite having it, but not being diagnosed, it is natural that the person will not fall into the category of people who have died from the flu.
Papuola unless they were diagnosed with the flu, a serious clinic, it was about 20 a year. But those other deaths when the virus was “nearby” are not reflected in the statistics.
In the case of coronavirus, sometimes it may be the opposite, especially at the outset, when a person has been declared dead of a coronavirus, but the question is whether he has been diagnosed. Therefore, relying solely on mortality statistics, if there is no more detailed analysis, it is possible to draw erroneous conclusions, ”said S. Čaplinskas.
He noted that deaths from COVID-19 were as close as it would have been during a severe, severe pandemic flu.
At the same time, the professor noted that the cold season is always associated with a higher number of deaths from cardiovascular disease, lung disease, diabetes, cancer and other diseases, because various viruses exacerbate the condition of people with chronic diseases.
“Older age is not a risk factor in itself, but the important thing is that the immunity then weakens and more chronic diseases are more common. And these infections have always been shown to get worse in cold weather, not from cold weather , but by viruses – influenza and other colds. Complications can only differ accordingly, when the disease develops, the spectrum of clinical phenomena may differ, “he said.