HOUSTON — A lot of people compare COVID-19 to the seasonal flu. Some even say they think the flu poses a much bigger risk to children than COVID.
Is that true?
To answer the question, KHOU 11 pulled data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and spoke to Dr. Michael Chang, an assistant professor of pediatrics at UTHealth Houston.
“I think that’s false. I think the data from one year – the 2020 to 2021 flu season – shows that,” Chang said.
According to the CDC, one child under 18 years old died from the flu in the whole country during the 2020-2021 flu season.
“That’s when we were masking, physically distanced, and a lot of kids were doing virtual learning. We had a lot of mitigations in place. One death due to the flu, but we continued to have COVID deaths,” Chang said.
Three years’ worth of data proves the same point. The CDC reported that there have been a total of 325 deaths in children under 18 related to the flu since the 2018-2019 season.
There were 136 pediatric flu deaths reported during the 2018-2019 season, 188 pediatric deaths reported in the 2019-2020 season and one death during the 2020-2021 season.
For COVID-19, 349 kids have died in the last 18 months, which is when the pandemic began.
Chang said that suggests COVID-19 is more transmissible than the flu, and likely more dangerous for children.
Claims that the flu is more dangerous to children than COVID-19 are false.
However, keep in mind it is rare for children to die from either virus. CDC data shows COVID-19 and the flu combined make up less than 1% of all pediatric deaths since the start of the pandemic in March of 2020.