COVID-19 cases continue to climb in the United States, prompting concerns as the flu season is here. Now, many hospitals cannot treat the seriously infected because they are overwhelmed by COVID-19 cases.
The scenario now
According to reports, more than 100,000 people remain infected daily. Hospitals in hot spots are dealing with the majority of unvaccinated people being hospitalized because of the severity of COVID-19. Nahid Bhadelia, founding director of Boston University’s Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases, Policy and Research, said, “If you see enough cases and hospitalizations and deaths that are overwhelming health systems, that cannot be endemicity.” Further, other experts are saying that we are not yet stably living with the virus because of this trend.
Since this is the current situation, hospitals will only get busier during the respiratory viral season. The hospitals that will most likely struggle are those in the rural areas and safety-net hospitals.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, is hopeful. He said in a statement, “I think there will be enough people vaccinated and enough people who are infected that you are not going to have hospital overruns.”
What you can do during the flu season
Last year, the lowest number of flu cases was recorded in the United States. The contributory factor was that more people remained in their homes, and children did not have face-to-face classes. That changed this year as many schools have opened so children can have physical classes. Because of this, experts suspect that this year might be the worst flu season.
In Tennessee, Richard Webby, an influenza expert at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, shared with The Atlantic, “I’m probably 60–40: 60 we will have a season, 40 we won’t. My gut feeling is, if it does come back, there’s going to be a little more punch.”
People, especially children, are encouraged to get their flu shots. Flu shots are safe and are available to children as young as six months old.
The future of COVID-19 and flu season
Former CFC Director Tom Frieden said in a statement regarding the future of COVID-19 and the flu season, “There is one scenario in which we have a double respiratory virus season each year. The striking thing is that certain things work really well for both of them, especially masks, but possibly ventilation and other measures.”