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The flu presents its own dangers. According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, there are an average of about 12,200 hospitalizations and 3,500 deaths related to the flu every year. Based on laboratory testing, there were 42,541 cases of seasonal influenza in 2019-2020.
“Everyone should get the flu vaccine this year,” Wilson said. “It’s a no-brainer.”
Concern about a potential twindemic is not overblown, epidemiologist Dr. Jeff Kwong said.
“Most health care workers would say we’re barely managing in a normal flu season. We’re always on the verge of collapse. If you add COVID, we’re in big trouble,” said Kwong, a professor at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto.
“The biggest problem with how we view influenza is that there are other respiratory viruses circulating,” he said. “The flu is a whole bunch of viruses with a whole bunch of different presentations. They’re impossible to distinguish without lab tests.”
If people let down their guard on measures to prevent the transmission of COVID-19, such as wearing masks, physical distancing and hand hygiene, there will be a twindemic, Kwong said.
“If people keep having parties, we’ll have influenza. But, if you can control COVID, you can control influenza.”
It is also possible, but rare, to be infected with flu and COVID-19 at the same time. A study published in June in the Journal of Medical Virology found that, among 1,103 patients who had been diagnosed with COVID‐19 in three hospitals in Istanbul, Turkey, six were diagnosed as also being infected with influenza. Co-infected patients have been reported in China, Germany, Iran, Japan, Spain and the United States.
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