ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – It is officially flu season which usually runs from October until May in the state. The New York State Flu Tracker launched Friday, where anyone can check important data on how the flu is spreading in New York.

Gov. Cuomo is urging people to get a flu shot to prepare for flu season, warning of a potential ‘one-two punch’ with COVID still an issue across the country. During the 2019-20 flu season, there were 22,217 flu-associated hospitalizations in the state and 13 pediatric deaths. 

“This fall could be a one-two punch for infection as we manage the start of another flu season while working diligently to keep the COVID-19 virus at bay,” Governor Cuomo said. “I’m reminding all New Yorkers that getting a flu shot not only protects you from the flu but will allow us to direct vital healthcare resources to fighting the next wave of the COVID-19 virus.”

New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said, “I cannot stress enough how important it is to get your flu shot to protect yourself this season against the dual threat of COVID-19, which can mimic flu symptoms. The ability to track activity for both viruses on a daily basis will help identify trends and help the Department put the appropriate public health measures in place. I also want to remind New Yorkers that contracting the flu does not mean you cannot contract COVID-19 and vice versa.”

The New York State Department of Health recommends that anyone over six months of age get vaccinated for the flu to protect themselves and others during the upcoming flu season. Adults aged 65 years and older, people with certain chronic medical conditions, young children, and pregnant women are among those at highest risk for serious flu complications, which may require hospitalization and could result in death.

Since the flu virus can spread through coughing or sneezing, it is especially important for family members and people who have regular contact with high-risk individuals to be vaccinated.