As of January 6, 2022, an average of 1,192 people per day have died from COVID-19 in the U.S. since the first case was confirmed in the country on January 20th the year before. On an average day, nearly 8,000 people die from all causes in the United States, based on data from 2019. Based on the latest information, roughly one in seven deaths each day were related to COVID-19 between January 2020 and January 2022. However, there were even days when more than every second death in the U.S. was connected to COVID-19. The daily death toll from the seasonal flu, using preliminary maximum estimates from the 2019-2020 influenza season, stood at an average of around 332 people.
We have to keep in mind that a comparison of influenza and COVID-19 is somewhat difficult. COVID-19 cases and deaths are counted continuously since the begin of the pandemic, whereas flue counts are seasonal and often less accurate. Furthermore, during the last two years, COVID-19 more or less 'replaced' the flu, with COVID-19 absorbing potential flu cases. Many countries reported a very weak seasonal flu activity during the COVID-19 pandemic. But it has yet to be seen how the two infectious diseases will develop side by side during the winter season 2021/2022 and in the years to come.
Symptoms and self-isolation
COVID-19 and influenza share similar symptoms – a cough, runny nose, and tiredness – and telling the difference between the two can be difficult. If you have minor symptoms, there is no need to seek urgent medical care, but it is recommended that you self-isolate, whereas rules vary from country to country. Additionally, rules depend on someone's vaccination status and infection history. However, if you think you have the disease, a diagnostic test can show if you have an active infection.
Scientists alert to coronavirus mutations
The genetic material of the novel coronavirus is RNA, not DNA. Other notable human diseases caused by RNA viruses include SARS, Ebola, and influenza. A continual problem that vaccine developers encounter is that viruses can mutate, and a treatment developed against a certain virus type may not work on a mutated form. The seasonal flu vaccine, for example, is different each year because influenza viruses are frequently mutating, and it is critical that those genetic changes continue to be tracked.
Daily number of coronavirus (COVID-19) deaths compared to influenza and all causes in the United States as of January 6, 2022*
Number of daily deaths
Average deaths/day by all causes (2019)
Average deaths/day by influenza (2019-2020)**
Average COVID-19 deaths/day since first case in U.S.
* All values were calculated based on provided data by the sources.
** Assuming the duration of the flu season from October 1 to April 4 (approx. 24,000 to 62,000 deaths in 187 days - for this statistic the maximum estimation was used), according to CDC.
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Statista. (January 7, 2022). Daily number of coronavirus (COVID-19) deaths compared to influenza and all causes in the United States as of January 6, 2022* [Graph]. In Statista. Retrieved May 19, 2022, from https://www.statista.com/statistics/1109281/covid-19-daily-deaths-compared-to-all-causes/
Statista. "Daily number of coronavirus (COVID-19) deaths compared to influenza and all causes in the United States as of January 6, 2022*." Chart. January 7, 2022. Statista. Accessed May 19, 2022. https://www.statista.com/statistics/1109281/covid-19-daily-deaths-compared-to-all-causes/
Statista. (2022). Daily number of coronavirus (COVID-19) deaths compared to influenza and all causes in the United States as of January 6, 2022*. Statista. Statista Inc.. Accessed: May 19, 2022. https://www.statista.com/statistics/1109281/covid-19-daily-deaths-compared-to-all-causes/
Statista. "Daily Number of Coronavirus (Covid-19) Deaths Compared to Influenza and All Causes in The United States as of January 6, 2022*." Statista, Statista Inc., 7 Jan 2022, https://www.statista.com/statistics/1109281/covid-19-daily-deaths-compared-to-all-causes/
Statista, Daily number of coronavirus (COVID-19) deaths compared to influenza and all causes in the United States as of January 6, 2022* Statista, https://www.statista.com/statistics/1109281/covid-19-daily-deaths-compared-to-all-causes/ (last visited May 19, 2022)