With fall around the corner and novel coronavirus cases still prevalent throughout the country, experts are bracing for what some have called a “twindemic” of Covid-19 and the flu.
Although these are two very different viruses, experts are now exploring what might happen if people get COVID-19 and the flu at the same time, and whether being ill with one virus might make you more susceptible to the other.
“It is certainly possible, although we aren’t clear how coinfection occurs,” said Dr. Jay Bhatt, an ABC News contributor and former chief medical officer of the American Hospital Association. “We will learn more as we get into the flu season.”
“Limited data suggests that is possible, but much more work needs to be done,” added Dr. John Brownstein, an epidemiologist, ABC News Medical Contributor and Boston Children’s Hospital’s chief innovation officer.
In all likelihood, being infected with both viruses at the same time would be more dangerous than just one. And experts warn that older Americans — already more vulnerable to both Covid-19 and the flu — may be particularly at risk. That’s why, especially this year, older adults are strongly encouraged to get a flu shot.
“There have been cases of coinfection and the result is far worse than the impact of either of the viruses alone,” Brownstein said.
A study published earlier this year in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that 20% of patients were infected with another respiratory virus in addition to Covid-19, including one who had the flu — showing it is a possibility.
“We could see rising COVID cases during flu season and some of that may depend on how effective we are at maintaining consistency in our prevention behaviors we know work,” said Bhatt.Read More