Differences between COVID-19 and flu? We have no immunity or vaccine for the new virus, local expert says

Video: Expert explains differences between COVID-19 and the flu

VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. — A local expert said there are key differences between COVID-19 and the flu.

Stetson University professor Asal Johnson said we have no immunity to COVID-19 nor any vaccines to prevent it or proven medications to treat it.

She said that makes it a virus that people need to take very seriously.

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“We should always be very alarmed about new viruses. They have potential to be very devastating,” she said.

Johnson said most people will only experience mild or no symptoms at all from the virus, but about 20% will need to be hospitalized.

New data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests close to 40% of those people between the ages of 20 and 54 are ending up in the hospital. It's unclear if they had prior medical conditions.

Johnson said she worries that could strain our local health care system especially since about 20 percent of Florida’s population is 65 or older and faces a higher risk of needing hospitalization from the virus.

Johnson said we can curb the spread by testing more people to find those who may carry the disease but not show symptoms, as well as through social distancing and good hygiene.