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Knowing More Matters

Is it COVID-19, RSV,
or the Flu?

About Respiratory Illnesses: COVID-19, RSV infection, and influenza

While impacting people of all ages, the viruses causing COVID-19, RSV disease, and the flu render the following populations especially vulnerable: children, the elderly, those who are immunocompromised, and people with underlying conditions. Coughing, sneezing, and potential contact with virus-contaminated surfaces all contribute to virus spread.

The Impact of Respiratory Viruses4, 5, 6

COVID-19

96 Million
More than 96 million people in the U.S. have suffered from COVID-19.

5.4 million
More than 5.4 million have been hospitalized.

1,058,692
More than 1,058,692 have died.

RSV

2 Million
On average, more than 2 million people suffer from RSV disease each year.

235,000
On average, more than 235,000 are hospitalized each year.

14,000
On average, more than 14,000 die each year.

Flu

35 Million
More than 35 million people in the US suffered from flu-related illness from 2019–2020.

380,000
More than 380,000 million were hospitalized between 2019–2020.

20,000
More than 20,000 died between 2019–2020.

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  1. COVID-19 – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (January 4, 2022). Symptoms of COVID-19, “Watch for Symptoms.” Retrieved from: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019- ncov/symptoms-testing/symptoms.html

  2. RSV – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (January 4, 2022). Symptoms and Care, “Symptoms.” Retrieved from: https://www.cdc.gov/rsv/about/symptoms.html

  3. Flu – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (January 4, 2022). Flu Symptoms & Complications, “Flu Symptoms.” Retrieved from: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/symptoms/ symptoms.htm

  4. Centers for Disease Control (October 20, 2022). Covid Data Tracker Weekly Review. Retrieved from: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/covid-data/covidview/index.html

  5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (December 18, 2020). Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infection (RSV), Trends and Surveillance. Retrieved from: https://www.cdc.gov/rsv/ research/us-surveillance.html

  6. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (October 1, 2021). Estimated Flu-Related Illnesses, Medical visits, Hospitalizations, and Deaths in the United States — 2019–2020 Flu Season. Retrieved from: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/burden/2019-2020. html#estimates


For more information about COVID-19, RSV and flu, please visit www.cdc.gov. For use under an Emergency Use Authorization in the United States

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