Pneumonia is a common ailment that many Americans have experienced or will experience at some point in their lives. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, pneumonia sends more than 250,000 people to the hospital each year and kills about 50,000 people in a typical year.
Clearly, pneumonia can be a serious problem. But this year, amid the coronavirus pandemic, pneumonia has become an even greater concern because it’s a common and potentially deadly complication of infection with the novel coronavirus that leads to COVID-19.
[Read: Types of Respiratory Viral Infections.]
What Is Pneumonia?
Dr. Jonathan Parsons, associate director of clinical services in the division of pulmonary, allergy, critical care and sleep medicine and director of the asthma center at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, explains that the term pneumonia means “inflammation of the airway cells. It can be caused by a bunch of different