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VERIFY: Has COVID-19 killed more Americans in 8 months than the flu in 5 years?

As the 2020-2021 flu season quickly approaches, the Verify team is looking into some claims and questions about the flu.

WASHINGTON — The 2020-2021 flu season is upon us. And in the midst of a pandemic, the situation is ripe for misinformation. That's why the Verify team is here to look into your claims and your questions about the flu.


Has COVID-19 killed more people in the last eight months than the flu has killed in five years?


Yes. The death toll of COVID-19 from February to September was 206,932 Americans. From 2015 to 2020, 178,165 Americans died because of the flu.


CDC: Past seasons estimated influenza disease burden counts

Johns Hopkins University COVID-19 data


The COVID-19 pandemic is often compared to the flu in social media posts.

 A viewer sent us a Facebook post which claims, "In the last 8 months, 211,000+ Americans have died to COVID. In the last five years (2015-2020), [approximately] 178,000 Americans have died from the flu."

The Verify researched got the data and did the math, and found it to be true that more Americans were killed by COVID-19 in eight months than the flu in five years.

According to CDC data, the number of estimated deaths from Influenza are as follows:

In total, the estimated Influenza deaths from 2015 to 2020 are 178,165.

Based on Johns Hopkins University's COVID-19 data dashboard, by the final day of September there had been a total of 206,932 deaths caused by Coronavirus.

In the United States, the COVID-19 death toll over a span of eight months is 16% higher than the influenza death toll over the last five years.

RELATED: VERIFY: Health experts say get a flu shot during the pandemic

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