Experts fear a bad flu season on top of COVID

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Public health officials are warning that the US may be on the Nerdshala of a dangerous double whammy: COVID and the flu, spreading simultaneously.

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big picture: The Delta version is still rolling out across the US, and the Omicron version isn’t far behind. On top of that, experts see potential warning signs of a bad flu season, which could leave millions of Americans vulnerable and strain health care resources.

What are they saying: “If people resume ‘life as normal’ without wearing masks and getting a flu shot or a COVID shot, I think we’re in for a tough cold,” said Vituiti’s chief medical officer. Officer Greg Miller, a firm that works in the hospital’s emergency department.

  • “Many of us are concerned that there could be a worse influenza season this year, but it’s too early to say,” Celine Gounder, an infectious disease specialist and epidemiologist at New York University and Bellevue Hospital, told Nerdshala.
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By numbers: Only 60% of Americans are fully vaccinated against COVID.

  • 41% of adults have received the flu shot, according to CDC, as are 39% of children—far less than the same point last year.

state of play: The CDC has said that flu activity across the country is still low, but recently issued a warning to providers About the early circulation of a strain of flu known as influenza A (H3N2).

  • The previous season in which that virus was the dominant strain saw more hospitalizations and deaths among people 65 and older. Viruses also evolve too rapidly to evade human immunity, the CDC said.
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Between the lines: A bad flu season can further exacerbate the health disparities exposed by the pandemic.

  • According to the CDC, vaccination rates are lower among black and Latino Americans than white Americans.

Bottom-line: Michael Ganio, senior director of health care, said, “The biggest concern is overall health care capacity. If it turns out we have a bad flu season, that starts to affect urgent care and primary care, in addition to COVID-19. What could be another surge of Pharmacy practice and quality in the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists.

  • “So clearly the number one recommendation for all of us is vaccination,” he said.

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