Difference between Covid-19 and Flu

By Sudheer Kumar K|Updated : January 11th, 2021

The outbreak of Avian flu during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has further posed a wider public health implication. In this article, we will learn about the difference between the two viruses and their impact.



Areas of Difference





Caused by SARS COVID-2

Caused by infection with influenza viruses



Speed of transmission

Comparatively longer

The time taken for the appearance of symptom after the infection is shorter.

The serial interval for COVID-19 virus is estimated to be 5-6 days

And also the time between successive cases is shorter.

The serial interval for influenza virus is 3 days

Spread slower than Flu.

Influenza can spread faster than COVID-19. 


Severity of disease

Older age and people with low immunity increase the risk of severe infection.

The riskiest are Children, Pregnant women, Elderly, People with underlying chronic medical conditions and People who are immunosuppressed.

Can cause more severe illness than Flu

Flu viruses can cause mild to severe illness


Availability of Vaccines

There is no licenced vaccine yet. Vaccines are still under development.

Antivirals and vaccines are available for influenza. 

Both viruses cause respiratory disease, though there are important differences between the two viruses and how they spread.

Here are some similarities between COVID-19 and Flu:

  • They both cause respiratory disease that leads to a wide range of illness from asymptomatic or mild through to severe disease and death.
  • Common symptoms of COVID-19 and flu include:
    • Shortness of breath or difficulty in breathing
    • Fatigue
    • Fever
    • Cough
    • Sore throat
    • Runny or stuffy nose
    • Muscle pain or body aches
    • Headache
  • Both the viruses are transmitted by contact and droplets.
  • Hand hygiene and proper respiratory etiquette are preventive measures


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