The flu season is underway, and you must get your flu vaccine. This is a reminder for people because a Colorado doctor warned about a “twindemic” together with COVID-19 in case there will be an increase in flu cases.
Dr. Michelle Barron, the senior medical director of infection prevention at UCHealth, said that the “twindemic” is most likely to happen because, unlike last year, most people are no longer working from home. Last year, the flu activity was not that prevalent as there were limited to no interactions among people. Now that the schools have opened, there’s a good chance that the flu season will be busier than last year. Further, there is less masking, which could also contribute to an increase in flu cases.
In Colorado, last year’s flu season only saw 34 flu hospitalizations. This was a significant decrease from 2019’s 3,546 flu hospitalizations. However, it is worth noting that flu pandemics happen almost every ten years, the last one being in 2009. Barron noted, “So if you do the math, we are due for a flu pandemic as well with a novel, different, strain of flu that we haven’t seen before, which is obviously just a nightmare in terms of thinking about what that means for us as a population.”
Mark Roberts, director of the Public Health Dynamics Laboratory at Pitt Public Health, also talked about the flu season hitting a record low last year, but it is likely possible that would not be the case this year.
He shared in a statement, “If anything, our models show that we should be more concerned this year about the possibility of a surge in COVID-19 hitting at the same time as a massive flu outbreak in areas of the country with low vaccination rates against both diseases.”
David Hirschwerk, an infectious disease specialist at Northwell Health in New York, also talked about Barron’s warnings in his interview with ABC News. He said that children should particularly be vaccinated because it will help reduce the risk of infection and severe complications from flu. Once a person had a flu vaccine, it “protects the entire household and communities by reducing transmission to others.” For children, if it is their first time getting vaccinated for the flu, they need to get two shots.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also said that because much remains unknown of COVID-19, there is little information about how flu might affect a person’s risk of getting COVID-19. What it knows is that a person can get the flu virus and COVID-19 at the same time.