As everyone need to know, the world is currently experiencing a global pandemic that SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that reasons COVID-19. As of march 17, 2020, 194,873 world have been evidenced to have been infected v 7,869 deaths. The bulk of both are in China, through 81,058 shown cases, i beg your pardon was whereby this epidemic originated. There have been more than 3,111 deaths in China from the disease. Currently, Italy is struggling through the disease, through 31,506 confirmed cases and also 2,503 deaths. The U.S. Has 5,702 confirmed cases and also 93 deaths.

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It may be instructional to look at the last major pandemic, the H1N1 influenza pandemic of 2009. This was led to by a virus indigenous a various family that viruses than the present coronavirus outbreak. The coronavirus is a new, novel coronavirus that shows up to have actually originated native bats before making the jump to humans. The “novel” component is crucial in that no one has actually been exposed come this details virus before, meaning no one has collected immunity come it.

COVID-19 is not influenza, although that behaves in some means like influenza. It is, instead, much more accurately referred to as a highly infectious viral pneumonia. In mild situations it outcomes in few if any kind of symptoms, such as cough and also mild fever. In significant cases, it outcomes in life-threatening pneumonia that can be fatal, specifically in the elderly, immunocompromised and also individuals with underlying medical conditions such as heart disease, lung an illness and diabetes.

The virus in the 2009 pandemic is taken into consideration to be quite different from the common H1N1 viruses the were circulating in ~ the time. Called (H1N1)pdm09, very few young world had existing immunity to it, but around one-third of world over 60 year of age had antibodies versus it, most likely from exposure come other, enlarge H1N1 viruses at some time in their lives.


This also meant that vaccinations for seasonal influenza offered very little protection against it. A vaccine because that the (H1N1)pdm09 vaccine was manufactured, however was not obtainable in far-reaching quantities till late November, fine after the top of the condition in the second wave the the disease and finished in the U.S.

This is a useful reminder together well. Despite the launch of number of clinical trials of vaccines versus COVID-19, the many optimistic timelines don’t have actually one commercially available for at least 12 months and also possibly longer.

It’s also worth noting the no one to know if the “seasonality” seen in influenza outbreaks applies to the coronavirus. Also in influenza, seasonality is no a well-understood phenomenon.

The 2009 H1N1 pandemic source in the joined States prior to spreading about the world, according to the U.S. Centers for condition Control and also Prevention (CDC). A later study suggested it was first diagnosed in humans in Mexico. The CDC approximated that indigenous April 12, 2009 come April 10, 2010, there to be 60.8 million H1N1 cases, through 274,304 hospitalizations and also 12,469 deaths in the U.S. Alone. They also estimate that worldwide, 151,700 come 575,400 world died indigenous (H1N1)pdm09 throughout the first year. Unusually, around 80% that the deaths to be in human being younger than 65 year of age.


The CDC notes, “This differs greatly from common seasonal influenza epidemics, during which about 70% to 90% that deaths are approximated to happen in human being 65 years and older.”

The CDC likewise points out that return the 2009 flu pandemic mostly influenced children and also young and middle-aged adults, the an international impact was less severe than earlier pandemics. Because that example, ahead pandemic mortality prices (percentage of world who died from the an illness globally) were:

• 2009 H1N1 pandemic — 0.001 come 0.007% that the world population

• 1968 H3N2 pandemic — 0.03% the the world’s population

• 1918 H1N1 pandemic — 1 come 3% of the world population

It’s at an early stage in the COVID-19 pandemic to really get specific sense that the fatality rate. One calculation by a group of infectious an illness experts cites 1.4% in people who have actually symptoms. This is largely based on the city that Wuhan, China, whereby the pandemic originated. However, plenty of experts believe that rate is high due to the fact that it take it a when for health authorities to know what to be happening. For example, epidemiologist Jeffrey Shaman the the Mailman school of Public health at Columbia University performed a examine on Wuhan and projected that in the early stages of the disease, as couple of as 14% of human being in Wuhan were detected.

“I think there room many much more than the 70,000” confirmed COVID-19 cases in Hubei province, he told reporters. And by that estimate, the yes, really fatality rate would likely be much lower. Earlier estimates were 2% come 3%, with greater rates of virtually 4%. Seasonal flu is around 0.1%.

Another element of the is that exterior of Wuhan, the fatality rate in China was about 0.7%, or much less than 1 fatality every 100 cases. Also, as the first country to resolve COVID-19, China exemplified a problem that is quiet ongoing, yet less so—they had actually to figure out exactly how to ideal treat the disease. And by the time people were showing up in hospitals—and quickly overwhelming them—they already had serious disease.


Although that is not unusual in pandemics, over time, the fatality rate of COVID-19 has actually steadily decreased. Because that example, according to the China CDC study, in patients who symptoms started between January 1, 2020 and also January 10, 2020, the fatality price was one astonishing 15.6%. But in the patients that didn’t report illness until February 1 to February 11, in China, it was 0.8%.

Still, STAT writes, “It’s worth noting that also after China gained the fatality rate under to 0.7%, or also 0.4%, that’s still around four to 7 times greater than the fatality rate for seasonal flu. (The rate for the flu is around 0.1%—or 1 in 1,000 patients.)”

Of concern is how tough Italy is gift hit, v 31,506 evidenced cases and also 2,503 deaths. South Korea enforced sweeping and rapid testing and government response and has actually 8,320 confirmed cases, however only 81 deaths. Two theories for why Italy is being hit so difficult hinge on two things: it has the second-oldest population on the planet, and its younger population tends to mingle an ext often v the elderly. A complete 23% that the population is older than 65, contrasted to the U.S., because that example, where it is 16%. In southern Korea, that 18.5% of the populace that is 60 years or older. And also data indigenous Italy shows that 90% of the deaths are in people 70 years of age or older. What more complicates problem is that in south Korea, most of the diagnosed instances are in younger people, with only 20% in human being 60 years old or older. About 30% are human being in their 20s.

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There has likewise been speculation that, as in China, there were a number of undiagnosed cases in Italy that created multiple present of contagion. The Italian wellness authorities have actually already provided that they had a higher than usual percent of pneumonia hospitalizations before recognizing the outbreak.