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Flu still poses far greater threat to life than coronavirus

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Despite fears over coronavirus, the flu and other respiratory conditions killed more than a quarter of everyone who died in Northern Ireland two weeks ago. (stock photo)

Despite fears over coronavirus, the flu and other respiratory conditions killed more than a quarter of everyone who died in Northern Ireland two weeks ago. (stock photo)

PA Archive/PA Images

Despite fears over coronavirus, the flu and other respiratory conditions killed more than a quarter of everyone who died in Northern Ireland two weeks ago. (stock photo)

Despite fears over coronavirus, the flu and other respiratory conditions killed more than a quarter of everyone who died in Northern Ireland two weeks ago.

Coronavirus has not killed anyone in the UK or Ireland.

But other respiratory conditions - such as influenza, bronchiolitis, bronchitis, or pneumonia - present a far greater threat, despite their relative familiarity.

The number of deaths from other respiratory conditions in just one week in Northern Ireland dwarfs even the total number of coronavirus diagnoses across the whole of the UK since the outbreak started.

Only one person in Northern Ireland has been diagnosed with coronavirus, and there have been 51 confirmed cases in the UK since the global outbreak started.

But in Northern Ireland, there were 32 flu cases confirmed in the third week of February alone, and 2,455 in total since last October. And in the same February week in Northern Ireland, out of a total of 297 deaths, there were 80 respiratory associated deaths - those attributable to influenza, other respiratory infections or their complications. That means they accounted for more than a quarter of all deaths in Northern Ireland that week.

Figures were provided in the Public Health Agency's latest weekly influenza bulletin. In December, there were fears of a potential flu outbreak in Northern Ireland after it emerged that less than a third of children aged two to four here had received their flu jab by the start of the month. However, from the start of October until February 23, there were 10 flu outbreaks in Northern Ireland - five in a care home setting, four in a hospital setting and one other.

Belfast Telegraph