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Source: United Kingdom – Executive Government & Departments

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) have released new data comparing deaths from COVID-19 with deaths from flu and pneumonia.

Prof Rowland Kao, Professor of Veterinary Epidemiology and Data Science, University of Edinburgh, said:

“The much larger number of deaths with COVID being noted as the underlying cause may be due to either increased numbers of infections or increased mortality amongst those infected or both – but the figures presented do not allow us to determine this. This is partially because influenza cases are almost certainly under-reported year on year, partially because the figures for COVID-19 will initially have uncertain diagnosis and is also subject to a highly variable testing rate (making it difficult to even compare covid-19 figures between time points, much less comparing to another disease).  Having said that, the substantially greater number of deaths attributed to COVID-19 does tell us that at the moment, COVID-19 is a greater risk to people than influenza – to some extent this is due to the fact that we have a flu vaccine that is given to individuals at high risk of severe illness/morbidity and mortality, whereas of course for COVID-19 we do not. Add to the fact that COVID-19 is new to us whereas we would expect some immunity between years of seasonal flu (highly variable, depending on the level of antigenic drift). Thus these data are entirely consistent with what we would expect.”


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