FLINT TOWNSHIP (WJRT) (3/12/2020) - Coronavirus is often compared to seasonal flu.
But, there are differences that are prompting more and more events to be canceled as the illness spreads in the United States.
The U.S. has seen worse outbreaks. The Spanish Flu in 1918 by far was the worst outbreak of the 20th century. Nearly a third of the world's population was infected, killing an estimated 50 to 100 million people.
Back then, there were no vaccines or other effective treatment.
Seasonal flu has been around for thousands of years. Modern medicine, including vaccines, has helped reduce death rates to under 0.1%.
COVID-19 is a new strain of coronavirus, which is highly contagious. It can spread from person to person with ease.
This virus has been proven deadly for the elderly with underlying conditions, increasing the mortality rate to more than 3%.
"Viruses are like human beings -- different classes, different groups, different nature. It's contagious by the same method. You inhale it by droplet. The only difference is two things, it looks like it's more contagious. It looks like its mortality rate is more," said Dr. Mazen Najjar, a Flint Township physician.
Everything from sporting events to campaigning to parades have been canceled to help prevent more people from being exposed to coronavirus and getting sick.
Najjar urges good hygiene practices like washing hands and not touching your face, recent reports of hoarding toilet paper may not be helpful.
"It's not making sense that because we have all these germs. Now we have an extra one. Because of this extra one, we have all these extreme measures. I think that's an over-reaction in my opinion," Najjar said.
Some experts say, as more people are tested, the percentage of deaths could go down to about 1%.