Updated March 12, 2021
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does not have an exact count of the number of people who die from influenza each year. Instead, the federal agency develops estimates based on rates of confirmed hospitalizations from the flu. For that reason, it’s difficult to compare flu deaths with those of COVID-19, which are actual documented deaths, says Mark D. Hicar, MD, PhD, associate professor of pediatrics in the Division of Infectious Diseases. In fact, COVID-19 deaths are being tracked by confirmed cases, “but there are still going to be numbers of unconfirmed cases, so the deaths from COVID-19 are probably higher then what is being reported,” Hicar says. So far, nearly 30 million Americans have been infected with COVID-19, resulting in more than more than 529,000 deaths, per the latest data from the CDC.
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