Public health measures like wearing a mask and avoiding close contact with others could help ensure that the upcoming season of influenza does not hinder the nation’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, said White House Health Advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci, on Thursday.
The United States was the country “hardest hit” by the United States Coronavirus With more than 7 million Covid-19 cases and 205,000 deaths on Wednesday, Fauci said during a briefing about the importance of preventing influenza and pneumococcal disease during the pandemic.
“Truly a changing pandemic of historic nature and we are not done with it yet,” said Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergies and Infectious Diseases.
Health officials will soon face a “diagnostic challenge” as the coronavirus coincides with the northern hemisphere flu season that the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has says Usually between December and February, as the symptoms of both diseases are very similar, he warned.
These common symptoms include fever, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, tiredness, runny or stuffy nose, headache, muscle aches or body aches, and possibly vomiting and diarrhea.
“There is significant concern as we enter the fall and winter months and flu season that we will have this dreaded overlap of two respiratory diseases, namely influenza and Covid-19,” he said.
The flu can kill between 12,000 and 61,000 people and hospital up to 810,000 people in the US each year, Fauci said.
In the meantime, Dr. William Schaffner, medical director of the National Infectious Disease Foundation, said only 59% of people plan to get the flu vaccine this season, citing a recent study by the foundation. Less than half of adults in the United States were vaccinated for the disease last year, he said.
The good news: Measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus are also effective in containing the spread of the flu, such as: B. wearing face covering, avoiding the crowds, frequent hand washing and disinfecting surfaces.
“The steps to fight the flu and Covid-19 are heavily overlapping,” Fauci said Thursday. “We don’t want these two diseases together.”
A CDC Study published In mid-September it emerged that the flu season in the southern hemisphere between April and July was much more subdued than in previous years. Data from Australia, Chile and South Africa found that only 0.06% of the more than 83,000 samples collected were positive, far less than the rate of nearly 14% in previous years.
“They have had a very, very easy flu season,” Fauci said, adding that the US “could have the same thing” if people were vaccinated and public health action was taken.
The study also found that the flu receded sharply in the two weeks earlier this year, when many states closed schools and encouraged social distancing and the wearing of masks. However, in the study, the researchers found that part of this decrease could be due to people stopping seeking routine health services.
Jointly proposed public health measures to curb the spread of Covid-19 along with a flu vaccine “could significantly reduce the incidence and impact of influenza in the coming season,” the researchers said.
Fauci warned about this this week The US is “not in a good place” as colder months loom and the number of newly reported coronavirus cases continues to surge to over 40,000 people a day. The country should be targeting new cases below 10,000 daily, not around 40,000 as it currently stands, he said.
“Get yourself and your family vaccinated,” said Fauci. “I was vaccinated two days ago. I feel great, I’m glad I did. Hopefully it will protect me and my family.”