Comparison of clinical characteristics and disease outcome of COVID-19 and seasonal influenza


While several studies have described the clinical course of patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), direct comparisons with patients with seasonal influenza are scarce. We compared 166 patients with COVID-19 diagnosed between February 27 and June 14, 2020, and 255 patients with seasonal influenza diagnosed during the 2017-18 season at the same hospital to describe common features and differences in clinical characteristics and course of disease. Patients with COVID-19 were younger (median age [IQR], 59 [45-71] vs 66 [52-77]; P < 0001) and had fewer comorbidities at baseline with a lower mean overall age-adjusted Charlson Comorbidity Index (mean [SD], 3.0 [2.6] vs 4.0 [2.7]; P < 0.001) than patients with seasonal influenza. COVID-19 patients had a longer duration of hospitalization (mean [SD], 25.9 days [26.6 days] vs 17.2 days [21.0 days]; P = 0.002), a more frequent need for oxygen therapy (101 [60.8%] vs 103 [40.4%]; P < 0.001) and invasive ventilation (52 [31.3%] vs 32 [12.5%]; P < 0.001) and were more frequently admitted to the intensive care unit (70 [42.2%] vs 51 [20.0%]; P < 0.001) than seasonal influenza patients. Among immunocompromised patients, those in the COVID-19 group had a higher hospital mortality compared to those in the seasonal influenza group (13 [33.3%] vs 8 [11.6%], P = 0.01). In conclusion, we show that COVID-19 patients were younger and had fewer baseline comorbidities than seasonal influenza patients but were at increased risk for severe illness. The high mortality observed in immunocompromised COVID-19 patients emphasizes the importance of protecting these patient groups from SARS-CoV-2 infection.

Bibliographical data

Original languageEnglish
Article number5803
Publication statusPublished - 11.03.2021
PubMed 33707550