December 7, 2020 By Off

COVID-19 info for Albertans

COVID-19 vs. Influenza


Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses. Some cause respiratory illness in people, ranging from mild common colds to severe illnesses.

Novel coronaviruses, like COVID-19, are new strains of the virus that have not been previously identified in humans. This means people have no immunity against it, and it has no vaccine or proven treatment.

COVID-19 vs. Flu

In some ways, COVID-19 is similar to influenza (also known as the flu), but there are also key differences.


  • Both cause respiratory disease.
  • Both are spread by small droplets from the nose and mouth.
  • Neither is spread through the air over long distances and times.


  • COVID-19 does not have a specific vaccine or treatment available.
  • COVID-19 does not appear to transmit as efficiently as influenza:
    • mainly people with symptoms seem to be spreading the disease, but asymptomatic transmission is possible and symptoms may be very mild, so transmission is possible even if the person is feeling well
    • controlling its spread is possible when people with symptoms are isolated
  • COVID-19 causes severe disease and mortality in more cases than the flu. On average:
    • COVID-19 has resulted in 1 to 2 deaths per 100 cases
    • Flu results in 1 death in every 1,000 flu cases

Because COVID-19 can cause serious illness, it is critical to keep it from spreading by having people with symptoms follow mandatory isolation requirements.

Last updated: July 15