28 Essential Flu Statistics You Need to Know in 2021

Flu Statistics

28 Essential Flu Statistics You Need to Know in 2021

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The rapid spread of the coronavirus to different parts of the world, coupled with severe symptoms and fatal consequences, caused many waves of panic. People were no longer as concerned about an equally disturbing global health problem—the flu.

Despite the low mortality rate of the flu, it can still cause complications and severe symptoms among some people. Apart from that, neglecting the dangers of the influenza pandemic could result in overlapping pandemics that will endanger the world even more.

For this reason, we must pay attention to the essential flu statistics and figures. It will help us understand how successful or unsuccessful we are in preventing influenza from becoming a full-scale pandemic.

This is crucial because it allows countries and international organizations to create action plans to avoid a health crisis of greater global impact.

Illuminating Flu Virus Facts and Stats (Editor’s Pick)

  • It’s still possible to get the flu even after vaccination.
  • It takes a few weeks for the body to develop antibodies against the virus after vaccination.
  • Influenza seems to have disappeared amid the Covid-19 crisis.
  • Influenza is the ninth leading cause of death in the US.
  • About 5% to 20% of Americans will get the flu every year.
  • There were only 155 flu-related hospitalization cases in the US from October 2020 to January 2021.
  • The coronavirus is three times more deadly than the seasonal flu.

Interesting Facts About the Flu

1. Health experts often compare the Spanish flu to the Covid-19 pandemic.

(BMJ Journals)

As Covid-19 changed people’s lives worldwide, many have started to wonder how the current pandemic compares to the previous ones. Naturally, people began to dig up specific Spanish flu facts to study and compare them to the recent pandemics facts and figures.

For example, during the Spanish flu, those in the 25 to 40-year-old range accounted for 40% of Spanish-flu-related deaths. While those in the 18 to 44-year-old bracket today account for only 3.9% of Covid-19 deaths.

2. It’s still possible to get the flu even after vaccination.

(Bon Secours)

Most people remain uninformed about the crucial flu vaccine facts. For instance, contrary to popular belief, it’s possible to get the flu after vaccination. This is because a vaccine can only reduce the flu risk by 40% to 60%.

Despite this fact, health care providers still recommend an annual flu vaccination shot because vaccines help make symptoms less severe.

3. It takes a few weeks for the body to develop antibodies against the virus after vaccination.

(WebMD)

There are so many facts about the flu that we often replace with myths or unsupported information. For instance, health experts say the human body needs at least two weeks to develop disease-fighting antibodies capable of neutralizing influenza viruses.

This means that you’re not impenetrable or immune to the virus immediately after your vaccination.

4. Manufacturers are set to supply about 194 to 198 million doses of flu vaccine for the current flu season.

(CDC)

There are several facts about the flu shot of which most people are unaware. For instance, unbeknownst to many, private manufacturers are the ones that produce flu vaccines.

As such, the number of supplies solely depends on the manufacturers’ ability to make a significant quantity. For the current flu season, manufacturers project to generate 194 to 198 million doses of flu vaccines.

5. Vaccines prevented 105,000 flu-related hospitalizations during the last flu season before the pandemic.

(CDC)

One of the most crucial flu shot facts people tend to overlook is how effective vaccination prevents hospitalization.

Providentially, vaccinations aren’t just effective for children and the elderly but also for working-age adults. In fact, during the last flu season, vaccines were able to prevent 105,000 flu-related hospitalizations.

6. Flu symptoms will start to manifest from one to four days after contracting the virus.

(WebMD)

We are so accustomed to people getting sick with the flu that we often overlook several crucial flu facts. For example, most people think that infected individuals are only contagious when symptoms start to appear.

And symptoms can manifest as late as four days after contracting the virus. The problem is that people with the flu can be infectious even before symptoms start to manifest up to 10 days after the onset of the disease.

7. The CDC recommends flu vaccination to infants aged six months old.

(CDC)

The CDC releases many facts about flu vaccines to keep the public informed and at ease. Despite some people’s hostility against vaccinations, the public health agency maintains it’s still the best protection we have against influenza.

In fact, CDC recommends that every individual should receive vaccinations every year, even infants who are six months old and above. This is especially true for children who are more susceptible to developing flu complications.

8. Only 48% of the adults received vaccination against the flu in the last flu season.

(ABC News)

Health officials are constantly encouraging everyone to receive vaccinations against influenza amid the concerns over Covid-19. However, the mortality rate and other scary facts about the flu and Covid-19 will be nothing if the world faces a “twindemic” because of low vaccination rates.

When that happens, the overlapping epidemics could easily overwhelm hospitals and put patients at greater risk of death.

Despite this alarming possibility, only 59% of adults plan to get vaccinations, merely 11% points higher than the 48% who received vaccination during the last flu season.

Flu Statistics

Worldwide Flu Statistics

9. Influenza seems to have disappeared amid the Covid-19 crisis.

(Scientific American)

There seems to be a silver lining amid the world problems with the pandemic. Health experts are hopeful that flu deaths from 2020–2021 will decline drastically worldwide amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Epidemiologists believe that public health measures against the spread of the coronavirus work more effectively against influenza. This is because influenza viruses are less effective at jumping from host to host than coronavirus.

The declining flu cases are apparent in the US, with only 600 deaths from influenza-related illnesses. The graphs of the number of positive influenza tests in different regions of the world show a similar trend to the US’.

10. According to the World Health Organization, there are approximately 290,000 to 650,000 flu deaths worldwide.

(WHO)

The World Health Organization considers influenza as a serious global health threat that affects all countries. As it is, the organization estimates that influenza kills about 290,000 to 650,000 every year.

Because the world is so interconnected, the organization believes it will only be a matter of time before the next severe influenza pandemic hits the world.

This is why the World Health Organization thinks the world needs to have better tools against influenza, such as vaccines and antivirals. Aside from that, countries should also work to instil public confidence and uptake of available vaccines.

11. The world deals with 1 billion flu cases every year, according to global flu stats.

(WHO)

Influenza is one of the greatest health challenges worldwide. The World Health Organization estimates that worldwide there are over 1 billion cases of flu-related illnesses annually.

And approximately 3 to 5 million of these cases cause severe symptoms. Out of that number, about 290,000 to 650,000 will end in death.

Flu Statistics

US Flu Stats

12. About 24,000 to 62,000 Americans died of influenza during the last flu season.

(Health)

The coronavirus may have eclipsed people’s concern over the influenza virus, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a cause for concern. According to the latest flu deaths statistics, about 24,000 to 62,000 Americans lost their lives to influenza in the last flu season.

Aside from the death toll, there are hundreds of thousands of flu-related hospitalizations and medical visits.

13. Vaccines prevented 4.4 million cases of flu in one season.

(Kaiser Permanente)

According to the flu statistics by CDC, vaccinations prevented approximately 4.4 million cases during one of the previous flu seasons. Further, CDC believes that US hospitals would see an additional 58,000 visits if not for the vaccinations. This is why the agency recommends flu vaccinations every year.

While people today have less exposure to flu viruses because of social distancing, flu vaccines are still necessary. This is because exposure to specific pathogens is inevitable.

14. The CDC’s latest flu death statistics and modeling technique indicate that close to 500 deaths may have occurred among children.

(CDC)

During one of the last flu seasons, the CDC recorded 199 flu-related deaths in children. However, the public health agency believes that it couldn’t cover all the cases, which means the actual death toll is higher.

According to the agency, when it employs statistical modeling techniques, the number of deaths may be close to 434.

15. The deadliest flu season of the decade took approximately 61,000 lives in the US.

(Statista)

The flu deaths per year chart of the US displays fluctuating death tolls in the last decade. According to the chart, the deadliest flu season in 2017–2018 killed about 61,000 Americans. This is a significant death toll, but it’s still a far cry from the number of Covid-19-related deaths.

Contrary to former President Trump’s statements and downplaying of the virus, hundreds of thousands of Americans have died in just a few months.

16. Influenza is the ninth leading cause of death in the US.

(Statista)

Statistics about flu and other diseases show that influenza and pneumonia account for 1.7% of deaths in the US. This makes the illness the ninth leading cause of death in the country. Further, records show that women are more likely to die from the flu than men.

17. Older people are more likely to die because of influenza.

(Statista)

The grimmest seasonal flu death rate in the US showed an alarmingly high death toll among the elderly. During the said season, the older people had a mortality rate of 49 per 100,000 population. This is five times the rate of people aged 50 to 64 years, who only had nine deaths per 100,000 population.

18. According to flu shot statistics, only 38% of people aged 18 to 49 years received a vaccination.

(Statista)

Receiving annual flu vaccinations is the most effective way to prevent yourself from catching the flu. Aside from the effectiveness of vaccinations, it’s also safe, accessible, and inexpensive.

Unfortunately, more than half of the US population fails to receive the flu vaccine shot every year. For instance, only 38% of individuals aged 18 to 49 years received a vaccination during the last flu season.

19. The number of flu cases dropped significantly in 2020.

(USA Today)

The CDC flu statistics show improvement in the number of flu cases in the US. Before the onset of the pandemic, the CDC recorded over 65,000 flu cases nationwide. The following year, the public health agency only recorded 1,016 cases of influenza.

Experts believe the high vaccination rates and the Covid-19 safety protocols such as social distancing and mask-wearing contributed significantly to the decline in cases. 

20. According to the flu statistics, the US spends an average of more than $10 billion on flu treatment.

(WebMD)

Each year, the US deals with staggering statistics about flu. And it’s not just about the number of people who get sick but the costs of those infections.

Based on existing records, the US spends more than $10 billion on hospitalizations and out-patient consultations to treat patients infected with influenza.

21. About 5% to 20% of Americans will get the flu every year.

(WebMD)

Health experts now have a reasonable estimate of how many people get sick with the flu judging from previous and latest flu stats. In fact, they believe that the percentage of Americans who catch the flu on average is between 5% to 20% annually.

However, only a tiny percentage of those who contract the virus end up in hospitals. Historical records place the number at 200,000 hospitalized Americans each year.

22. The influenza virus caused a high hospitalization rate among children in the last flu season.

(Harvard Health Publishing)

It’s common for people to think that the flu is nothing but a bad cold. But the influenza virus can give severe symptoms that lead people to seek medical attention. In fact, the flu statistics from the last flu season show significant figures.

Records show that at least 18 million people sought medical help, while 24,000 people died because of flu-related illnesses. What is more, the influenza virus didn’t spare children ages four and below, with a rate of 95.1 per 100,000 people.

Health experts attribute the high figures to the dominance of influenza A and B in a single time frame.

Flu Statistics

Flu Stats 2020

23. Flu effectiveness varies annually.

(Healthgrades)

Some people probably think that vaccines have the same level of effectiveness throughout the years. But the truth is that it varies from year to year. This is why health experts take some time to study vaccine effectiveness every flu season.

Unsurprisingly, public health experts include vaccine effectiveness in published flu facts, and the 2020 flu vaccine effectiveness will be available later in 2021.

In the previous flu season, the vaccine effectiveness was 45% against influenza A and 37% against influenza B.

24. There were only 155 flu-related hospitalization cases in the US from October 2020 to January 2021.

(Healthline)

The public’s preventive measures against Covid-19 caused a significant decline in flu cases in the 2020-21 season. This is because the coronavirus and influenza spread similarly. As a result, measures like mask-wearing and social distancing don’t just protect people against Covid-19 but the flu as well.

Records show that the US only had 155 cases of admission because of flu-related illnesses. That’s a 98% decline from the 8,633 hospitalization cases because of influenza for the same flu period in 2019-20.

Flu vs Coronavirus Statistics & Facts

25. The coronavirus is three times more deadly than the seasonal flu.

(MedicineNet)

Researchers can now say with certainty that the coronavirus is more severe than the seasonal flu. Based on coronavirus vs flu statistics, patients who are positive with the Covid-19 are 3.5 times at greater risk of dying.

Records of admissions of Covid-19 patients show that coronavirus puts the patient at 1.5 times the chance of staying longer in the hospital.

26. CBD can cure flu symptoms, but not coronavirus.

(Willamette Week)

Several studies have confirmed the effectiveness of marijuana in curing many illnesses, including flu symptoms, relieving pain, helping boost the immune system, and improving sleep.

But there’s apparently no studies yet on CBD’s effect on coronavirus. So the best thing to prevent ourselves from contracting viruses is to follow healthcare protocols, such as wearing face masks, observing social distancing, and proper handwashing.     

27. Between February and June 2020, Covid-19 death rate was 18.5% for hospitalized patients.

(WebMD)

Researchers who analyzed Covid vs flu stats concluded that Covid-19 is more harmful and causes more severe symptoms than influenza. For example, a comparison in the hospital admission of the two viruses shows that Covid-19 had a death rate of 18.5%, while flu only had 5.3%.

Further, data also showed that hospitalized patients with Covid-19 were four times more likely to need ventilators than flu patients.

28. The coronavirus has a higher death rate than the swine flu.

(Health)

An analysis of swine flu vs coronavirus stats shows just how far more dangerous the coronavirus is. From April 2009 to April 2010, the swine flu infected approximately 60.8 million people, hospitalized 274,304 patients and caused 12,469 deaths.

In contrast, the coronavirus infected about 7.5 million people in less than one year and killed 212,000 Americans.

Conclusion

The influenza virus has taken a backseat amid the spread of the coronavirus. Although health experts agree that the flu is less harmful than Covid-19, it can still cause severe symptoms among some individuals.

In the worst cases, it can still cause death. In fact, the number of US flu deaths by year reaches tens of thousand cases.

Fortunately, the number of flu cases declined significantly because of the safety measures against Covid-19. This is because protocols such as mask-wearing and social distancing also prevent the influenza virus from hopping from one host to another.

FAQ

According to the World Health Organization, approximately 290,000 to 650,000 people die every year worldwide because of the influenza virus.

Despite the availability of vaccines, the death rate is still a significant number because people are unwilling to subject themselves to vaccinations. This makes it easy for the virus to hop from one host to another, eventually causing a global health crisis.

Most people think that individuals who contract the influenza virus are only contagious when the symptoms are there. On the contrary, infected individuals are infectious some days before symptoms appear, and up to 10 days after the beginning of the illness.

This is why it’s essential to get a flu vaccine because it’s nearly impossible to tell if another person is a carrier. 

Researchers don’t know for sure how and where the flu started. However, most agree that evidence strongly suggests that the virus first appeared in either France or the US.

Unfortunately, the first World War aided the spread of the virus to different parts of the world upon the arrival of American troops on France’s soil. The war conditions like poor hygiene and close contact made it easy for the virus to hop onto another host.

Flu symptoms vary from person to person. Some individuals with a more robust immune system will have mild symptoms, while others might experience severe cases.

Typically, a person who contracted the influenza virus will experience a scratchy throat, body aches, and fever as the first few signs. The symptoms will then progress and become more severe quickly. 

It’s also worth noting that not everyone with the flu experiences fever.

According to the World Health Organization, approximately 1 billion people catch the flu every year worldwide. Most of these cases are unreported by health care providers because these people experience only mild symptoms.

Of the one billion who contract the influenza virus, about three to five million people will experience severe symptoms and complications. Out of the number of extreme cases, about 290,000 to 650,000 will die.

Severe cases of flu can lead to death when the virus causes inflammation in the lungs. When this happens, the lungs will not be able to pump enough oxygen into the body. At this point, the person is in danger of respiratory failure.

According to flu statistics, about 290,000 to 650,000 will experience this severe symptom and die.