CALGARY -- Data from the Government of Alberta shows the province has recorded more COVID-19 deaths in 10 months than influenza deaths in the last 20 years combined.

Alberta reported its first death from COVID-19 on March 19, 2020. In the time since, 1,389 people have lost their lives to the coronavirus as of Thursday.

Nationally, the number of deaths from the virus are similar and it shows how deadly COVID-19 is, health experts say.

“We are now at about 17,000 deaths nationally from COVID-19 and a typically bad year for flu is about 3,500. So we’re at five times the number of deaths,” says Craig Jenne, who teaches in the department of Microbiology Immunology and Infectious Disease at U of C’s Cumming School of Medicine.

CTV News used provincial data to tally the flu death numbers from each influenza season since 2000.

“Anywhere from 25-30 per cent of Canadians catch the flu every year,” Dr. Jenne said. 

“If we look at COVID, less than two per cent of Canadians have actually had this virus, yet our death count is five times higher than an entire year of flu.”

Alberta has yet to report a lab confirmed case of influenza during the 2020-‘21 flu season.