Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, can look very similar to the flu. They have similar symptoms — a fever, cough, and the possibility of leading to pneumonia — and even spread the same way. So wanting to compare the two is natural and, frankly, understandable.
But Covid-19 is very different from the flu. It’s more dangerous in almost every way.
Not only is it twice as contagious, but the time it takes you to realize you are contagious is much longer. With the flu, the average time it takes you to feel sick from the moment you become sick (called the incubation period) is two days.
With Covid-19, most people don’t realize they’re sick — and possibly contagious — for five days; it can take up to 12 or even 14 days. You can also show no symptoms and still be contagious.
And when you become sick, you have a higher chance of needing to be hospitalized. (Yes, even young people.) While the flu can kill nearly 60,000 Americans in a year, the flu’s fatality rate is still just 0.1 percent. Covid-19’s fatality rate by some estimates is 10 times that, especially for older people.
Watch the video above to learn more about the differences between coronavirus and the flu, and why we have to take Covid-19 so seriously. Or read more from Vox’s senior science reporter Brian Resnick.