Your Health: Possible twindemic as flu season may pose extra risk

Health Reports

Health experts are calling it a potential twindemic. First, the rising cases of COVID fueled by the Delta variant and now with winter on the horizon, influenza is likely on its way.

Experts warn those flu cases may be particularly serious.

Last winter we battled COVID with masks, social isolation, and lots of hand washing. Those measures had an added benefit of preventing many cases of the flu last year.

This year however…

“Much of our immunity to influenza comes from people who had it last year and a lot of that is gone,” said Mark S. Roberts, MD, MPP, University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health.

Health Policy Expert Dr. Mark Roberts and his colleagues ran two separate computer analyses. Both models predict a very serious flu season.

“The likelihood is that there could be 20% or 30% more cases. The mathmatical model that we use said as many as 400,000 extra hospitalizations,” said Dr. Roberts.

Experts are concerned the flu could crush healthcare systems that are already straining to keep up with the demands of COVID.

They say the best way to avoid a worst-case scenario is a flu vaccine.

“Even though the flu vaccine is not as effective as the COVID vaccine is, it is still effective at preventing serious disease, and it’s more effective than not,” said Dr. Roberts.

According to one model, if 75% of Americans get vaccinated against the flu as compared to 50% in a typical year. Many of those additional hospitalizations could be avoided.

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