Coronavirus vs Flu: Difference and Comparison

We understand the term ‘pandemic’ now as coronavirus led to the pandemic and led to the saddest sight of all time. Flu and coronavirus are both respiratory illnesses as well as contagious.

They are, however, both respiratory illnesses caused by distinct viruses. But, the similarity in symptoms makes it difficult to differentiate between them. 

Key Takeaways

  1. Coronavirus and flu are both respiratory illnesses, but they stem from different viruses, with COVID-19 being more severe.
  2. COVID-19 spreads more easily and has a higher mortality rate than the flu.
  3. Vaccines and antiviral medications are available for both illnesses, but COVID-19 requires additional safety measures like masks and social distancing.

Coronavirus vs Flu 

The difference between coronavirus and flu is that coronavirus is caused by a coronavirus that was very recently discovered in 2019. Meanwhile, Flu is caused by the influenza virus. Secondly, Coronavirus spreads faster than the flu. Thirdly, Coronavirus symptoms are experienced after 2 to 14 days of infection, while symptoms of the flu might appear after 1 to 4 days. Fourthly, coronavirus involves a lot of complications, such as blood clots, MIS – C, MIS -A, and long COVID. Meanwhile,  Flu can lead to complications, such as diarrhoea in kids and secondary bacterial infections. Lastly, a covid patient is maybe contagious longer than a flu patient. 

Coronavirus vs Flu
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Coronavirus also known as Covid-19. It is caused by a coronavirus that was identified recently in 2019. The spread of coronavirus is faster than the flu, and a patient may be contagious for an extended period.

Although it may show symptoms after a few days, and symptoms are experienced after 2 to 14 days of infection. Coronavirus involves a lot of complications, such as blood clots, MIS – C, MIS -A, and long COVID. 

An influenza virus causes the flu. The spread of flu is slower than coronavirus, and a patient may be contagious for a shorter period. Although, it may show symptoms after 1 to 4 days of infection.

Flu involves a lot of complications, such as diarrhoea in children and secondary bacterial infections. 

Comparison Table

Parameters of comparison Coronavirus Flu 
CauseCoronavirus is caused by a coronavirus that is identified recently in 2019.Flu is caused by the influenza virus. 
SpreadCoronavirus spreads faster.Flu spreads lower.
SymptomsCoronavirus symptoms are experienced after 2 to 14 days of infection.flu symptoms can be experienced after 1 to 4 days.
ComplicationsCoronavirus involves a lot of complications, such as blood clots, MIS – C, and MIS -A as well as long COVID.Flu can lead to complications, such as diarrhea in kids, and secondary bacterial infections.
ContagiousA covid patient is maybe contagious longer than a flu patient. A flu patient is contagious for a shorter period than a covid patient. 

What is Coronavirus? 

A virus named coronavirus was identified in 2019, and it spread so faster that it resulted in the pandemic. It is also known as COVID-19. It is a contagious respiratory illness that creates havoc around the world. 

It is said that coronavirus spreads faster than flu. So, it is more contagious, but coronavirus and flu show similar symptoms. Therefore, it’s hard to differentiate between them. 

 Coronavirus may show symptoms after a few days, and symptoms are experienced after 2 to 14 days of infection.

And symptoms are fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle pain or body aches, headache, vomiting or diarrhoea, and change in or loss of taste or smell. 

Apparently, a change in or loss of taste or smell is related to COVID-19. 

Additionally, a patient experiences symptoms for five days. Also, a patient may be contagious for a longer period than a flu patient. 

It also transfers from a person-to-person, when they’re close. Moreover, it is carried through sneezing, coughing, or talking that contains large or small particles with viruses. 

The higher risk of infection is in older people, people with certain underlying conditions, and pregnant women. And covid may lead to serious illness in some people. 

Lastly, coronavirus involves a lot of complications, such as blood clots, MIS – C, MIS -A, and long COVID. 

coronavirus

What is Flu? 

A virus named influenza causes flu, and it spreads slower than coronavirus. However, It is also a contagious respiratory illness that recovers faster.

It is said that flu spreads slower than coronavirus. So it is less contagious, however, coronavirus and flu show similar symptoms. Therefore, it’s hard to differentiate between them.  

Flu may show symptoms after a few days, and symptoms are experienced after 1 to 4 days of infection.

And symptoms are fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle pain or body aches, headache, vomiting or diarrhoea, and change in or loss of taste or smell same as covid -19.

Apparently, a change in or loss of taste or smell is related to COVID-19, so it may not be a sign of flu.

Also, a patient may be contagious for a shorter period than a coronavirus patient. 

The spreading of covid and flu is the same as they both are respiratory illnesses. It also transfers from a person-to-person, when they’re close. Moreover, it is carried through sneezing, coughing, or talking that contains large or small particles with viruses. 

The higher risk of infection is in older people, people with certain underlying conditions, and pregnant women. And covid may lead to serious illness in some people. 

Lastly, Flu involves a lot of complications, such as diarrhoea in kids and secondary bacterial infections. 

flu

Main Differences between Coronavirus and Flu 

Coronavirus and flu share a lot of similarities, therefore, it is hard to tell them apart by just observing. Although, testing is one of the options for differentiating precisely. However,  there are many differences between them. 

  1. Coronavirus is caused by a coronavirus that was identified recently in 2019. Meanwhile, Flu is caused by the influenza virus. 
  2. Coronavirus spreads faster, while flu spreads slower than covid.
  3. Coronavirus symptoms are experienced after 2 to 14 days of infection, while flu symptoms can be experienced after 1 to 4 days. 
  4. Coronavirus involves a lot of complications, such as blood clots, MIS – C, MIS -A, and long COVID. Meanwhile,  Flu can lead to complications, such as diarrhoea in kids and secondary bacterial infections. 
  5. A covid patient is maybe contagious for longer, while a flu patient may be contagious for a shorter period. 
Difference Between Coronavirus and Flu
References
  1. https://www.nber.org/papers/w26866
  2. https://science.sciencemag.org/content/369/6506/890.summary

Last Updated : 13 June, 2023

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