Flu Season Nears as COVID Death Rate Hits 170,000

Aug 18, 2020 – Coronavirus deaths in the United States surpassed the 170,000 mark on Sunday – by far the most countries in the world – with health experts claiming that another outbreak of coronavirus cases coupled with the impending flu season could create a fatal “twindemic”.

Globally, there have been around 776,000 coronavirus-related deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. After the United States in the number of deaths, Brazil with 108,000 people.

In an interview with WebMD, CDC Director Robert Redfield MD said the United States could face the “worst downfall” that “we’ve ever had” due to the overlap between the COVID-19 pandemic and flu season.

This is one of the reasons why health experts encourage people to get the flu shot. The flu shot will not prevent a person from contracting the coronavirus, but could help ease the strain on medical resources.

“Flu shots have been shown to reduce the risk of influenza, hospitalization and death,” the CDC says. “Getting the flu shot this fall will be more important than ever, not only to lower your risk of the flu, but also to help conserve potentially scarce health care resources.

The FDA has given emergency clearance for a test that will check for seasonal influenza viruses type A and B and COVID-19 at the same time, according to the CDC.

“Testing for these viruses at the same time will give public health officials important information about how influenza and COVID-19 spread and what preventive measures to take,” the CDC says.

Manufacturers predicted they would produce between 194 and 198 million doses of influenza vaccine for the 2020-2021 influenza season, according to the CDC. A record 175 million doses were produced during the 2019-2020 influenza season.

The 2020-2021 influenza season has been relatively mild. In preliminary estimates, the CDC says 24,000 to 62,000 deaths have occurred during this flu season, with 410,000 to 740,000 hospitalizations.

Flu season occurs in the fall and winter with peaks between December and February, according to the CDC.

Organizations are encouraged to encourage their employees to get vaccinated. The University of California system has gone further and requires all employees and students to be vaccinated by November 1.

COVID-19 and the flu share some symptoms, but with the flu, it’s less common to have breathing problems. COVID-19 tends to come on gradually, while flu symptoms hit hard and quickly.

About 20% of people with COVID-19 need hospital care, compared with 1 to 2% with the flu.

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Jothi Venkat

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