The coronavirus epidemic has sparked misguided comparisons with the influenza in terms of the mortality rate, so GCT thought it was important to point out that in 2016, according to the latest data from Eurostat, a total of 4,186 people in the European Union (EU) died from influenza, recording a standardised death rate of 9 deaths per million inhabitants.
The death toll fluctuates, depending each year on the specific virus which infected the population.
These figures pale in comparison to the 49,322 deaths in Europe overall due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) as of April 6, 2020 from an international pool of 1.27 million recorded cases.
In 2016, the standardised death rate for people aged 65 and above (corresponding to 70% of those who died from influenza in the EU) was 34 per million inhabitants. This is an improvement from a peak in 2015 (58 deaths per million inhabitants), but still slightly higher than in 2012 (27 deaths per million inhabitants). The vulnerability of elderly population to influenza highlights the reason why the general influenza vaccination is recommended particularly for the elderly.
By contrast, the standardised death rate of people younger than 65 years old was 3 per million inhabitants in 2016, and was even lower in the four years preceding that.
In terms of influenza deaths, Greece fares well compared to its European counterparts, staying just below the EU average whilst Cyprus is slightly higher.