A “twindemic” is what infectious disease experts are calling the possibility that both the COVID-19 and influenza viruses will sicken Americans this winter. How likely is that possibility and what are public health officials doing about it?
Experts, speaking at AHCJ’s Summit on Infectious Disease in November, discussed expectations about the coming flu season, how the health care system will handle the influx of both COVID-19 and flu patients, and how the flu, like COVID-19, disproportionately impacts Black, Latinx and other vulnerable communities. They also offer insights about what this year’s flu vaccination rates might mean for the anticipated COVID-19 vaccine in 2021. Continue reading
Until 2020, many Americans (except health reporters) tended to consider influenza as just a nuisance winter illness that might keep one in bed for a few days. However, this year, with COVID-19 still roiling the country, the flu needs to be considered more seriously.
Adding to concerns are polls showing that people may be reluctant to get a flu shot, which may influence others to hold off. CNN reports that one in three parents said they had no plan to go to their doctor’s office and vaccinate their kids, even though more than 100 children die of the flu each year. Most of the children that die from the flu didn’t get a flu shot. Continue reading
Get your flu shot. Never, perhaps, has that advice been as important for older adults to act on as this year. As winter approaches, geriatricians and infectious disease experts are increasingly concerned about the effects of even a mild flu season on an already-vulnerable older adult population, especially those in long-term care facilities.
It’s been likened to “a perfect storm,” and sailing in “uncharted waters,” according to a recent editorial in Science magazine by Edward Bologna, director of the Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Population Health at the Marshfield Clinic Research Institute in Marshfield, Wisc., and Michael T. Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. Cliches aside, the reality is we have no idea what to expect when the pandemic and flu season converge, especially without a proven COVID-19 vaccine that is safe and effective in the older population. Continue reading