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Coronavirus vs the Flu

The Coronavirus is making headlines across the world, and while it is a concern, there’s an even bigger threat to residents locally.

Posted: Jan 30, 2020 5:59 PM
Updated: Jan 31, 2020 12:38 PM

There are cases of the coronavirus within the United States, but the CDC seems to have it under control, and while there doesn’t seem to be a threat of the virus locally, Utica College infectious disease specialist Dr. Larry Aaronson says there’s a reason people are concerned.

"I’m more concerned about the flu that’s going around than coronavirus, but every time a new outbreak appears somewhere in the world, especially one we’re not prepared for, people get nervous."

Dr. Juleen Qandah is the Director of Faxton Hospital’s Urgent Care. She says there’s a good reason people get nervous.

"Usually coronavirus’s just cause mild upper respiratory infection. Also known as the common cold, and as you know there’s no treatment for the common cold, so as of right now there is no treatment but supportive care for the coronavirus. It’s just symptom control."

The numbers of people who’ve contracted coronavirus are likely much higher than being reported. That’s because there are areas in China that just haven’t been accounted for. The United States may be preparing for the worst, but Dr. Larry Aaronson explains why it doesn’t make the concerns any less.

"Your chances of contracting it when you’re in contact with someone who has it is about 1 in 3. So it’s about the same as with flu, but it’s just exploding tremendously in a local area, and that’s what makes it frightening."

What should be frightening is the number of people dying from the flu. Flu deaths far outnumber the coronavirus rates. Local hospitals are seeing flu patients, but it’s not too late to get a flu shot.

"We can see flu patients in the urgent care every day, but you know when you do get diagnosed and you get sent home, please do not immediately go back to work or school. Even if you have a low-grade fever and you feel good enough."

Experts say the best way to avoid picking up any virus is to avoid large crowds, and wash your hands using soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.

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