COVID Killed More Americans in Past 2 Weeks Than Flu in Past 3 Seasons

COVID-19 has killed more Americans in the last two weeks than influenza has killed over the last three flu seasons.

Between January 16 and January 30, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, there were around 31,100 deaths from COVID-19 in the U.S.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there have been 22,290 deaths from flu over the past three flu seasons. The health agency only reports flu deaths within flu season, which spans from October through May, as influenza deaths are very rare outside the season.

There were 20,342 deaths from influenza in the 2019-2020 season. The first five months of that season took place before the COVID-19 outbreak was given pandemic status in March 2020. In those first months, many countries had not entered a strict lockdown to protect against airborne coronaviruses like SARS-CoV 2 and the influenza.

In the 2020 to 2021 season, only 748 Americans died from flu.

The following season, CDC estimates that 1,200 people died from flu.

The drop-off in these numbers are likely to be due to public health precautions people across the world were taking as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Like COVID, flu spreads through airborne droplets via respiratory systems. Mask-wearing and physical distancing thus help cut down flu activity.

"Though caused by a different virus from the one that causes COVID-19, the flu is also a respiratory viral disease, so everything we are doing to slow transmission of COVID-19 should also reduce transmission of flu," Eili Klein, an associate professor of emergency medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, said in March 2021.

COVID-19 is thought to be far more infectious than flu, especially as many people are not immune to the disease.

Despite about 64 percent of the U.S. population being fully vaccinated, the new highly-transmissible omicron and "stealth" Omicron variant is running amok around the country.

The United States is coming out of a devastating wave of infections driven by those variants. In the latest CDC data available on January 28, the U.S. had a seven-day daily average of 543,016 cases a day. Just a week before, on January 21, this figure was at 716,809.

Although early research suggests that Omicron is less severe than previous variants of the virus, it has been shown to evade vaccines.

Booster vaccines have been shown to provide the best protection against the new variant, which emerged in November last year.

Forty-one-point five percent of the U.S. population has received a booster jab.

Stock image of flu sufferer
A stock image of a woman with flu. COVID-19 has killed more Americans over the last two weeks than influenza has killed over the last three years. Stock/Getty