VERIFY: COVID-19 has caused more pediatric deaths than the flu in the last 18 months

CDC data shows that COVID-19 and flu account for less than 1% of all pediatric deaths since the start of the pandemic.

HOUSTON — Many people compare COVID-19 to the seasonal flu. Some even say they think the flu poses a much greater risk to children than COVID.

To answer the question, KHOU pulled 11 data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and spoke with Dr. Michael Chang, an assistant professor of pediatrics at UTHealth Houston.

“I think that’s untrue. I think the one-year data — the flu season from 2020 to 2021 — shows that,” Chang said.

According to the CDC, a child under the age of 18 died from the flu during the 2020-2021 flu season across the country.

“Then we were masking, physically at a distance, and a lot of kids were doing virtual learning. We had taken many measures. One death from the flu, but we continued to have COVID deaths,” Chang said.

Three years of data prove the same. The CDC reported a total of 325 deaths among children under 18 due to the flu since the 2018-2019 season.

There were 136 pediatric flu deaths reported during the 2018-2019 season, 188 pediatric deaths reported during the 2019-2020 season, and one death during the 2020-2021 season.

For COVID-19, 349 children have died in the past 18 months, when the pandemic started.

Chang said that suggests COVID-19 is more transmissible than the flu and likely more dangerous for children.

Claims that the flu is more dangerous for children than COVID-19 are false.

Keep in mind, however, that children rarely die from either virus. CDC data shows that COVID-19 and the flu together account for less than 1% of all infant deaths since the start of the pandemic in March 2020.

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