Difference Between Coronavirus and Spanish Flu

Coronavirus, or covid-19, is a respiratory infection that is now affecting many individuals in many different nations. Millions of people died as a result of the Spanish flu pandemic that occurred between 1918 and 1920.

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 Spanish Flu?

Spanish flu was a kind of influenza that occurred from 1918 to 1920 and was a pandemic that caused numerous deaths.

  • Genetics and origin of the Spanish flu − The origins of this flu have been hotly debated, but most experts agree that it most likely developed from mammalian flu viruses that shared the hemagglutinin HA gene with birds. The HA gene does alter the infectivity of flu viruses, allowing them to enter into host cells.

  • Symptoms and complications − Symptoms included a sore throat, aching head, cough, congestion in the nose, chills, aches in the body, and occasionally also gastrointestinal distress such as nausea and upset stomach.

  • Diagnosis − This viral strain may be verified using a molecular biology test based on the polymerase chain reaction. This test looks for the virus's real DNA; it took years for researchers to piece together the genetic makeup of the Spanish flu by taking tissue samples from frozen bodies in the arctic.

  • Transmission − The illness was a zoonosis that is assumed to have initially transferred originally from birds into humans and then subsequently, human to human transmission happened.

  • Risk factors and mortality − The persons most at danger of the sickness and of mortality were young adults, notably in individuals between between 20 and 40 years of age. The virus did, however, kill some infants and the elderly, although it was mostly responsible for the deaths of young adults. This was uncommon compared to typical influenza strains. It is estimated that around 50 million people died as a result of the epidemic

  • Treatment − Therapy was restricted when the epidemic started and there was no influenza vaccination in those days. The high mortality rates may have been a result of the lack of antibiotics to treat any secondary infections that emerged.

Differences: Coronavirus and Spanish Flu

The following table highlights the major differences between Coronavirus and Spanish Flu −



Spanish Flu


Covid-19, a novel virus discovered in China in late 2019, is to blame for the coronavirus pandemic.

From 1918 through 1920, a pandemic was brought on by a particularly dangerous type of influenza.

Place of origin

Covid-19, a new coronavirus, was discovered in Wuhan, China.

Nobody knows for definite where the Spanish flu initially arose.

Incubation period

Coronavirus incubation can be fairly long-lasting frequently from 11 days to two weeks.

It is estimated that the Spanish flu incubation period lasted between 48 and 7 days.

Genetics and structure

The covid-19 coronavirus is characterised by a single-stranded RNA genome and glycoproteins on its outer surface.

The Spanish flu was an RNA virus that has HA genes similar to those of bird flu.

Mortality rate

Those over the age of 70 or those with preexisting conditions have a higher mortality rate from coronavirus.

People between the ages of 20 and 40 had the highest mortality rate from the Spanish flu.


The Spanish Flu pandemic and the COVID-19 pandemic are two significant health crises in recent history, but they have several differences, including their origins, symptoms, spread, and response.

The COVID-19 pandemic has received a much more significant response than the Spanish Flu, but both have had a profound impact on the world and will be remembered for generations to come.

Updated on: 18-Apr-2023


Kickstart Your Career

Get certified by completing the course

Get Started