Difference Between Coronavirus and Pneumonia

Coronaviruses (Coronaviridae) are a family of viruses that cause mild to severe diseases in mammals and birds. Infection from Coronavirus can lead to complicated medical condition such as Pneumonia also known as chest infections.

Pneumonia is an inflammation of the lungs, affecting the alveoli and/or the surrounding lung tissue.

Coronavirus infection can lead to pneumonia and therefore both have some common symptoms, however, the two conditions have different etiology and different measures need to be taken in order to avoid complications.

What is Coronavirus?

Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, is a pandemic in which a virus is causing respiratory sickness and killing more people than the typical seasonal flu.

  • Genetics and origin of the coronavirus − The covid-19 coronavirus seems to have emerged originally in China, where it spread from an animal to a person. The specific host animal from which the virus originated is still up for contention. It has been discovered to be comparable to the SARS coronavirus, a single-stranded RNA virus with glycoproteins on its outer surface.

  • Symptoms and complications − A high temperature and a dry cough are the most noticeable and noticeable signs of covid-19 infection. However, the infection can cause serious lung damage in some patients, which can make breathing extremely difficult. This results in a lack of oxygen in the blood, which can lead to cardiac issues or failure of numerous organs. Age and health factors affect death rates, yet even young, seemingly healthy people might pass away.

  • Diagnosis − A human sample can be tested using RT-PCR. Some nations now offer drive- through testing locations where anyone may pull up and have a sample taken for testing. The test is effective because it confirms a diagnosis by checking for the virus's unique genetic coding.

  • Transmission − It is believed that the coronavirus known as covid-19 is a zoonosis that was accidentally spread from an animal host to people. Human to human transmission then happened.

  • Risk factors and mortality − Mixing with infected people increases your risk, although you won't notice any signs for a time. While treating patients with covid-19, medical personnel are likewise at danger. Because of this, several nations have adopted policies of social isolation in an effort to lessen interpersonal contact. The largest fatalities occur amongst those older than 70 years and who have other ailments. Diabetes and heart disease appear to enhance the risk of covid-19 problems and mortality.

  • Treatment − Pain relievers are used to manage the symptoms, and the patient may also require fluids to help with the dehydration brought on by the fever, as well as supplementary oxygen for any breathing issues. In really severe circumstances the person may need to be on a ventilator to support breathing.

What is Pneumonia?

When the lungs get infected, it can harm either the alveoli themselves or the tissue that surrounds them. Because of the inflammatory reaction brought on by the infection, the alveoli will fill with fluid (exudate or transudate). Pneumonia symptoms including coughing, fever, shortness of breath, etc., result.

Pneumonia often develops as a secondary consequence of an infection in the upper respiratory tract, with the inflammation spreading down the bronchial mucosa and eventually taking over the bronchial tree and the lung.

Pneumonia can be caused by −

  • Infectious agents – bacteria (aerobic and anaerobic), viruses (coronaviruses, adenoviruses, rhinoviruses), fungi and molds (Candida, Actinomyces, Aspergillus);

  • Chemical factors – irritant gases, aspiration of gastric juice;

  • Physical factors – radiation, trauma, foreign body in the bronchi;

Pneumonia can be −

  • Depending on the etiology – infectious and non-infectious pneumonia;

  • Depending on the presence of prior diseases – primary and secondary pneumonia;

  • Depending on the localization of the inflammatory process – alveolar and interstitial pneumonia;

  • Depending on the spread of the inflammatory process – lobar, lobular, segmental, unilateral, and bilateral pneumonia.

Pneumonia is characterized by a high body temperature, a cough that is wet and produces a lot of mucus (expectoration), chills, chest discomfort, difficulty breathing, extreme weariness, fast heart rate, and breathing, cyanosis, a lack of appetite and thirst, and vomiting. Not everyone who has pneumonia will experience every symptom. Pneumonia caused by these bacteria is called asymptomatic since the only symptom is a general feeling of unwellness. Because of this, a correct diagnosis may be elusive.

Medical history and physical examination are used to arrive at the diagnosis. X-rays are taken if doctors suspect pneumonia. Testing can be done on a bacterial, histological, or radiometric level.

The treatment plan is based mostly on the underlying medical condition. Antibiotics, antivirals, antifungals, fever reducers, pain relievers, and expectorants could be part of the mix. The treatment for aspiration pneumonia is to expel the offending foreign body.

Differences: Coronavirus and Pneumonia

The following table highlights the major differences between Coronavirus and Pneumonia −





Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that infect animals and birds and, in rare situations, can cause pneumonia in people who already have other cormorbid conditions.

Pneumonia is an inflammation of the lungs that affects the alveoli and/or the interstitium and makes it difficult to breathe normally.


229 E, NL63, OC43, and HKU1 are examples of common human Coronaviruses. The Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), new coronaviruses (nCoV), and severe acute respiratory syndrome are some of the more uncommon variants that can be fatal (SARS-CoV).

Pneumonia can be classified as lobar, segmental, or lobular, depending on the size of the afflicted region. It might be viral, bacterial, fungal, allergic, etc. depending on the causing agent.


Fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, headache, muscular discomfort, etc. are some of the moderate to severe symptoms of Coronavirus.

Symptoms of pneumonia include a cough with green or yellow phlegm, a high fever that may be accompanied by chills, shortness of breath, chest discomfort, joint or muscle pain, a headache, a lack of appetite, and weariness.


Coronavirus consequences include acute respiratory distress syndrome, irregular heartbeat, cardiogenic shock, severe muscular pain, and weariness, all of which can worsen if the virus is not treated promptly and effectively.

Potential consequences of pneumonia include bacterial contamination of the circulation, fluid collection around the lungs, lung abscesses, and breathing difficulties.


The diagnosis of Coronavirus is determined based on a medical examination. Throat secretions, nasal secretions, and faeces can all be examined for microbiological diagnoses

Pneumonia is generally diagnosed by medical examination and radiography of the lungs.


Antiviral medicine (not suggested for the new Coronavirus), rest, hydration consumption, cough treatments, and painkillers may all be used to alleviate symptoms of the virus.

The treatment of pneumonia involves antibiotics, rest, analgesics, water.


While COVID-19 and pneumonia are both respiratory illnesses that can cause similar symptoms, there are several important differences between the two illnesses. COVID-19 is highly contagious and spreads easily from person to person, while pneumonia is not as contagious and is typically spread through close contact with an infected person. COVID-19 can cause a range of symptoms that can range from mild to severe, while pneumonia generally causes more severe symptoms.

Finally, the treatment and prevention of the two illnesses are different, with COVID-19 treated with supportive care and antiviral medications, and pneumonia treated with antibiotics or antiviral medications, depending on the underlying cause of the infection.

Updated on: 17-Apr-2023


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