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This Is How Quebec's Flu Deaths Actually Compare To Its COVID-19 Deaths

Coronavirus is sometimes brushed off as another flu, but the data says otherwise.

Quebec has been reaching record highs in terms of COVID-19 cases lately, surpassing 2,000 new cases per day. And, as of December 24, COVID-related deaths neared 8,000 in the province. 

While some people have compared COVID-19 to the flu due to some shared symptoms, like fever and loss of smell, the coronavirus has been much deadlier, according to data from the Institut de la statistique du Quebec

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The above graph, created by writer and public policy analyst Patrick Déry using the province's statistics, makes the difference between influenza and COVID-19 abundantly clear. 

According to the province's statistics, only 385 Quebecers died from the flu in 2019, while 7,867 Quebecers have died from COVID-19 since March.

This means that last year's flu deaths are equivalent to just 4.9% of COVID-19 deaths in Quebec during the last nine or so months of the pandemic.

In the past decade, flu deaths in Quebec have only surpassed 1,000 once, in 2018:

  • 2010: 37
  • 2011: 189
  • 2012: 172
  • 2013: 443
  • 2014: 473
  • 2015: 693
  • 2016: 213
  • 2017: 435
  • 2018: 1,042
  • 2019: 385

In fact, Quebec's COVID-19 deaths more accurately reflect yearly figures for deaths related to the entire respiratory system, including pneumonia and lower respiratory tract illnesses.

But, even then, Quebec's annual respiratory deaths fluctuated between 5,093 and 7,657 between 2008 and 2019, never surpassing 7,657. 

This article's cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.