The Covid pandemic has already claimed a million lives, and the Americans had been trying to find some solace with the shrinking numbers of death reports and hospitalization cases till the new strain Omicron made its appearance.
Americans Dealing With Both Covid And Flu
However, to date, no such severities have been reported, which gives some more hope. But recently, the health care experts are apprehending the surge of another pandemic, the flu infections, which, coupled with Covid, seems to start a new ‘twindemic’.
Covid cases are already there in the US and hospital beds are still being occupied by the Delta infected patients. The health care providers are trying hard to cope with the stress of increasing numbers of hospitalizations and although Omicron cases are still there, the hospital personnel are worried about the steady rise in the number of influenza cases. With so many varieties of infections around, it is extremely difficult to provide the perfect solution for every patient.
Since last week, there has been a 34% increase in the number of hospital admissions of flu patients. It has surpassed the numbers of last flu season by 125 and the rates are increasing on a daily basis with nearly 250 cases per day on a seven-day average according to the US Department of Health and Human Services. Besides these, there have been cases of Delta infections too that got admitted on an average daily basis of 8,400, which is a 5% hike since last week’s, though it’s lower than the numbers recorded during the peak Delta times.
According to Dr. Shira Shafir, an epidemiology professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, the concerning part is that people will be less immune to the flu virus this time and hence, more vulnerable to infections since last year there was no flu season. Scientists usually design vaccines by predicting the outcome through studying the infections of the previous years. Since there is no recent data the scientists don’t have a match to compare with. The public health protocols like masking and social distancing had a minimizing effect on the flu virus as well. However, because of the leniency shown in maintaining these norms in many places throughout the US, the flu has made a comeback but with serious contagiousness.
Even the winter holidays are threatening the spread of the flu virus. With flu-like symptoms of cough, sore throat, or runny nose, many are going for the Covid tests. However, on getting a negative report, people are starting to proceed with their usual lives and attend gatherings. People are relaxed that they are not spreading the coronavirus, but are ignorant about the transmission of the flu virus in the process. By avoiding crowds, having proper ventilation, and using masks, transmissions can be checked.
Vaccines can prove effective against the flu virus just like in the case of the corona. According to a CDC survey that took place between the 2nd of December and the 13th of December, about 48% of the people in the US are vaccinated against flu and another 9.5% are expected to get theirs. Approximately 57.2 % of the people are expected to receive their flu shots in the period of 2021-2022, a 3.4% hike since last year’s vaccination reports. But what Dr. Jim Conway of University of Wisconsin’s School of Medicine and Public Health is concerned about is that the winters are already gloomy with an increasing number of infection cases all around and with the festive season gatherings in every corner coupled with low immunization rates, there would be an overwhelming rise in the numbers.
So far, the safety rules followed to stop the spread of Covid has also curbed the number of flu infections in the US. People staying back at home, avoiding crowds and public gatherings have prevented the spreading of the disease. But the month of celebrations is a big cause of concern for many health experts and hence, immunizations and boosters are a must to ensure optimal protection.