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Verify: COVID-19 deaths outnumber flu deaths in Tennessee

About 1,600 Tennesseans die from influenza and pneumonia each year, per the CDC. The TN Health Department has already reported more than 2,700 COVID-19 deaths.

KNOX COUNTY, Tenn. — Is COVID-19 really deadlier than the seasonal flu? It's a question people ask often, as they try to understand how severe COVID-19 can be.

To find out, we went to the Centers for Disease Control website, the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center and the Tennessee Department of Health.

All three track infectious diseases like COVID-19 and the flu.

As of Oct. 10, data from Johns Hopkins University showed 214,305 people have died from COVID-19 in the United States.

The Centers for Disease Control database showed anywhere from 12,000 to 61,000 people die from the influenza virus each flu season. 

The national death toll from COVID-19 so far is greater than the combined death toll of the last five flu seasons. 

Credit: WBIR

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COVID-19 deaths in Tennessee are also outnumbering annual flu deaths. 

While the flu is not a reportable disease in Tennessee, the CDC's Wonder database shows roughly 1,600 Tennesseans die from influenza and pneumonia each year.

Credit: WBIR

Since March, the Tennessee Department of Health has reported more than 2,700 deaths from COVID-19. That's 1,000 more deaths in seven months than a typical flu season.

According to a presentation from the Tennessee Department of Health, about 1.3 percent of detected cases in the state are fatal.

That number rises to 6.5 percent for those 61 years of age or older, and 14.4 percent for those in long-term care facilities.

About 4 percent of all people who test positive are hospitalized with COVID-19. The Tennessee Department of Health had reported a cumulative total of 9,180 hospitalizations as of Oct. 10.