An epidemic amid a pandemic: Flu season

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Samantha Kosman

Local pharmacies promote the influenza vaccine to customers.

Although COVID-19 and Influenza are different, both are rapidly spreading respiratory viruses, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The flu season is estimated to take place between October and May, alluding to the fact that we will be enduring this season soon.

People have begun to automatically associate any cold-like symptoms with COVID-19. This further stresses the importance of understanding the differences between common viruses and COVID-19. 

“People show symptoms of the flu quickly; it’s fairly abrupt. Whereas COVID-19 symptoms arise at a much slower pace and may not be present in the beginning,” said David Hiroshima, MD. “They are similar, but not the same.”

Last April, the CDC director Robert Redfield warned the public about a potential second wave of the coronavirus when flu season hits. 

Recently there has been a spike in COVID-19 cases due to the lack of people following the suggested protective precautions, making it even more critical that people obey the recommended preventative measures. 

FLU VACCINE INFOGRAPHIC by Samantha Kosman

As flu season approaches, worries arise concerning how another highly contagious virus will affect people during this COVID-19 pandemic.

Anjali Mehta, a junior, said, “Since the coronavirus has been going on for so long, a lot of people are disregarding it and adapting to it instead of trying to get rid of it. With flu season, the effects will get even worse.”

Now more than ever, medical professionals are encouraging that people receive flu vaccinations in hopes that it will reduce the chances of getting and spreading the flu. There is no evidence proving that the flu vaccine would increase the risk of getting COVID-19, but receiving a flu vaccine would overall reduce the spread of the flu. 

“I think because of everything that’s going on this year with COVID-19, a lot more people are going to abstain from getting their flu shots. Because of that, I feel that there’s a bigger risk of more people getting the flu and coronavirus,” said Sarissa Block, a junior. 

According to The Wall Street Journal, the crucial chemical used to process the COVID-19 tests is running low, resulting in a decrease in test availability, causing frantic efforts to produce more before flu season. 

Once flu season hits, considerably more people will be getting tested to determine whether or not they have contracted COVID-19, which will lead to a rapid increase in COVID-19 tests. This will further decrease the current shortage of supplies to combat this pandemic. 

“People will have to use COVID-19 supplies for the flu because there will be two viruses going around at the same time,” said Chloe Chun, a freshman. “Since the same amount of materials will be used at the same time, the number of materials will decrease significantly.”

Preventative measures practiced during this pandemic will also help diminish the spread of the flu, but medical professionals remain uncertain of the result between the two viruses clashing. 

“We just don’t know how COVID is going to evolve or change as the pandemic goes on. Flu season could worsen the pandemic, but we really don’t have enough information to know what will happen,” Hiroshima said. 

Especially with the upcoming flu season, mask-wearing, social distancing, and sanitation are critical, as they will significantly impact the outcome of the infectious spread from the two viruses. 

This pandemic seemingly has an infinite amount of uncertainties, the flu season being one of them. 

 

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