Difference Between Covid Pneumonia and Bacterial Pneumonia

Lung infections, or pneumonia, are quite serious and can even be fatal. Pneumonia in any form is a terrifying disease. Viral or bacterial organisms are the likely culprits.

The coronavirus 2 strain associated with the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS-CoV-2) is the causative agent in cases of covid pneumonia.

Streptococcus is the bacterium responsible for causing pneumonia (pneumococcus). Even so, it can also be caused by other microorganisms.

As opposed to bacterial pneumonia, Covid pneumonia is far more dangerous.

What is Covid Pneumonia?

In covid pneumonia, viruses affect both lobes of the lungs, causing an inflammatory reaction with a more homogenous composition, leading to an accumulation of cellular debris and mucus in spaces inside the lungs that were previously open.

Early symptoms of viral pneumonia include coughing and a feeling of congestion (heaviness) with or without a high temperature (fever).

What is Bacterial Pneumonia?

A classic example of bacterial pneumonia occurs when the doctor hears noises in the pneumon (lungs) that are present on one side but absent on the other.

Similarities: Covid Pneumonia and Bacterial Pneumonia

Common signs and symptoms in both pneumonias are −

  • High temperature (may or may be high in either infections)

  • Cough

  • Difficulty in breathing

  • Breath rate that has suddenly increased

Differences: Covid Pneumonia and Bacterial Pneumonia

The following table highlights the major differences between Covid Pneumonia and Bacterial Pneumonia −


Covid Pneumonia

Bacterial Pneumonia


Severe pneumonia (infection of lungs) caused by coronavirus infection itself

Bacterial pneumonia (infection of lungs) is caused by −

  • Staphylococcusaureus

  • Moraxellacatarrhalis

  • Streptococcuspyogenes

  • Neisseriameningitidis

  • Klebsiellapneumoniae


  • Fever

  • Chills

  • Sore throat, cough

  • Rise in temperature

  • Headache

  • Labored breathing

  • Runny nose

  • Loss of appetite

  • Weakness

  • Conjunctivitis

  • Nausea

  • Fever

  • Sweating and shaking chills

  • Cough with sputum − Yellow or greenish

  • Labored breathing

  • Body aches

  • Chest pain

  • Loss of appetite

  • Low energy, and fatigue

  • Fatigue, malaise

  • Diarrhea

  • Bluish skin

  • Nausea and vomiting


Viral pneumonia has been found to be associated with

  • Lower serum creatinine

  • Rhinorrhoea, multivariate

  • GGO − (Ground-glass opacity) in radiology results

  • Higher lymphocyte fraction in the WBCs − white blood cells

The independent predictors for bacterial pneumonia were found to be associated with −

  • Age > 65 or

  • Comorbidity

  • Leucocytosis or leukopenia


Viruses in case of COVID-19 affect both sides of the Pneumon by releasing a more uniform kind of inflammatory response that results in an elevated cellular mucus and debris where earlier open pneumon (lungs) pockets were present.

Bacteria affects or attacks only one part or lobe of the pneumon (lungs) resulting in a specific region of inflammation to take over the cellular particles that were filled with air.


So many vaccines which have been rolled out globally by different providers have not been able to 100% safeguard from the virus infection. There are instances where people even after getting vaccinated are getting infected.

Some types in this case can be prevented with vaccines, for example, the pneumococcal vaccine. However, the aggressive ones like the Strep pneumonia, vaccine utilization has not been 100% effective. The persistence of Strep pneumonia or pneumococcus, infections remain.


As of now, there is no approved 100% effective and curative treatment available for people suffering from Covid pneumonia. Antibiotics do not work in this case. However, for Bacterial pneumonia, antibiotics may be prescribed.

Updated on: 26-Apr-2023


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