According to ONS [Office of National Statistics] which everyone and his mother are quoting at the moment, 45,000 Britons died during the 2014/2015 winter season from viruses, 59,000 during the 2017/2018 winter season. I do not remember a huge amount of media fenzy at those times.
Influenza [the flu] and COVID, the illness caused by the pandemic coronavirus, are both contagious respiratory illnesses, meaning they affect your lungs and breathing, and can be spread to others. Although the symptoms of COVID and the flu can look similar, the two illnesses are caused by different viruses.
Both illnesses can cause fever, cough, body aches, and sometimes vomiting and diarrhea [especially in children].
Both can result in pneumonia.
Both flu and COVID can be mild or severe, or even fatal in rare cases.
How It Spreads
Both the flu and COVID spread in similar ways. Droplets or smaller virus particles from a sick person can transmit the virus to other people nearby. The smallest particles may linger in the air, and another person can inhale them and become infected.
People can touch a surface with viruses on it, and then transfer the germs to themselves by touching their face.
People infected with the coronavirus or the flu may not realize they are sick for several days, and during that time can unknowingly spread the disease to others before they even feel sick.
Seasonal flu, which causes outbreaks every year, should not be confused with pandemic flu, or a global outbreak of a new flu virus that is very different from the strains that typically circulate. This happened in 2009 with the swine flu pandemic, which is estimated to have infected up to 1.4 billion people and killed between 151,000 and 575,000 people worldwide, according to the CDC. There is no flu pandemic happening currently.
In the winter of 2017/2018, there were 50,100 flu deaths. No one locked down the country.