COVID-19 deadlier, more severe than influenza - study

The study compared data taken from patients with the flu during the past five years and COVID-19 patients hospitalized in spring 2020.

Colorized scanning electron micrograph of an apoptotic cell (greenish brown) heavily infected with SARS-COV-2 virus particles (pink), also known as novel coronavirus, isolated from a patient sample. Image captured and color-enhanced at the NIAID Integrated Research Facility (IRF) in Fort Detrick, Ma (photo credit: NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES - NIH/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS)
Colorized scanning electron micrograph of an apoptotic cell (greenish brown) heavily infected with SARS-COV-2 virus particles (pink), also known as novel coronavirus, isolated from a patient sample. Image captured and color-enhanced at the NIAID Integrated Research Facility (IRF) in Fort Detrick, Ma
(photo credit: NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES - NIH/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS)
Former Health Ministry director-general Prof. Yoram Lass stunned the public when he said that COVID-19 "is the flu with excellent public relations” in March 2020 and expressed his objections to the health regulations imposed by the government to curb the infection rate.
Now it seems researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) in Boston found Lass to have been quite mistaken, with the virus being six times more fatal than influenza. 
The study compared 1,052 patients with influenza and 582 patients with COVID-19 and found more people on average needed hospital care if infected with the novel coronavirus (582) when compared to those suffering from influenza (210). Roughly 30% among those suffering from COVID-19 needed mechanical ventilation whereas only 8% among those with influenza needed such treatment.
The death toll among those suffering from the novel coronavirus was 20%, much higher than the 3% mortality rate suffered by those infected with influenza. 
Furthermore, COVID-19 patients, on average, were younger than those suffering from the flu – and when they needed mechanical ventilation, they tended to remain in care longer – a median duration of two weeks compared to three days, news-medical.net reported on Friday. COVID patients also reported fewer pre-existing conditions which would require such an intense form of intervention. 
Nearly all COVID-19 deaths (98%) were the direct or indirect result of the novel coronavirus, wrote Dr. Michael Donnino, one of the authors of the article. He stressed that this means people die from COVID-19, not while they had it. This is crucial since many people online and at protests argued that the death rate is being allegedly “fabricated” and that hospitals are being encouraged to report false data.
The false understanding that COVID-19 is not actually the cause of death seems to have originated in a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) September report stating that 6% of COVID-19 deaths listed COVID as the direct and only cause, the science portal Midaat pointed out
The authors of the study also noted that, without social distancing and mask-wearing measures, the death rates from COVID-19 would have been much higher than what their study showed. 
 
The study was originally published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine
With the exception of a small group of Israelis that accepted conspiracy theories about COVID-19, most Israelis rejected Lass's theories.