As the muggy summer months drag on in the northern hemisphere, public health officials are already gearing up for the cold fall and winter. Or as they call it, flu season.
The influenza virus circulates predictably around October, but this year there’s an added curveball: the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, which will almost certainly continue through the winter months. Scientists aren’t sure exactly what to expect with two respiratory infections spreading simultaneously, but they do know they could be a deadly combination: “A potential co-circulation of Covid-19 and flu could place a tremendous burden on our nation’s healthcare system and result in many illnesses, hospitalizations, and deaths,” Jasmine Reed, a spokesperson for the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said in an email.
Accordingly, public health professionals have one clear message to Americans: Get your flu vaccine, and get it early.
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