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COVID still has a higher mortality risk than the flu

A recent JAMA study by Ziyad Al-Aly and colleagues using data from over 11,000 hospitalized patients during 2023-24 shows COVID-19 has a 35% higher mortality risk than influenza. Despite frequent mutations of SARS-CoV-2, COVID remains significantly more lethal and causes more hospitalizations than the flu. This undercuts claims that COVID-19 is comparable to influenza in severity.

person holding thermometer

H5N1 flu virus (bird flu) vaccine development and availability

The USA faces a growing bird flu outbreak caused by the H5N1 virus, with potential human infection risks but no confirmed human-to-human transmission yet. While the CDC monitors the situation, they’ve prepared by stockpiling H5N1 vaccines from manufacturers like Sanofi and GSK. However, the current vaccine reserves are limited and primarily for healthcare workers, with mass production waiting until a specific pandemic strain is identified. Furthermore, vaccine production could be challenged by reduced chicken egg availability due to the outbreak, prompting research into egg-less vaccine production methods.