Coronavirus was initially underestimated as a threat when the first few pockets of infection emerged in China last year. Many international governments did not foresee the eventual calamity, leading it to catch them by surprise with deadly consequences. Now authorities have effectively adjusted to COVID-19, it would seem as if a similar scenario is unlikely again, but there is a looming dual threat.
Will the flu make coronavirus worse?
The threat from the flu is lesser than that of COVID-19 on its own, due to centuries of experience with annual outbreaks.
But experts fear seasonal strains could compound the effects of the new disease, which may make rounds again in the cold, dry weather.
The question remains as to whether the combined diseases would result in even more deaths, or if the world’s newly instated hygiene method will cushion the impact of both.
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Scientists believe the virus will continue to circulate until an effective vaccine emerges.
By winter, this fact means health officials may end up fighting two epidemics, one of the flu which takes root this year, and COVID-19.
The worst-case scenario would see them both develop unimpeded leaving the combination to overwhelm hospitals and resulting in double the deaths.
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Thankfully, however, doctors believe any surge in influenza would end up mild.
Dr Wenqing Zhang, head of the World Health Organisation (WHO) Global Influenza Programme told the Daily Telegraph countries should remain “vigilant” nevertheless.
He said: “There could be a surge as influenza virus is still circulating, though at low levels.
“That is why WHO recommends countries to keep vigilant, sustain influenza surveillance and detect emerging influenza virus strains of public health importance earliest possible.”
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On the other hand, both governments and the general public have learned valuable epidemic countermeasures.
Social distancing, scrupulous monitoring, clear lockdown guidelines and contact tracing could end up declawing both the annual flu cycle and COVID-19 together.
In addition, the threat of a severe flu season made worse by the disease has also led authorities to prepare for the worst.
Healthcare providers have started stocking up on flu vaccines, with some holding 20 percent more than usual.
Ultimately, officials should come into the season prepared, but COVID-19 may end up waging war.
Much like in society, the dominant virus often holds the most control in a population, effectively blocking a competitor from extending its own influence.
While coronavirus continues to circulate, seasonal flu may struggle to take hold.
Dr Zhang added: “Extremely low influenza activity was also seen in 2003 in parts of the world during the Sars coronavirus outbreak. But 2003 to 2004 was a severe influenza season.
“At the moment, Sars-CoV-2 virus is the predominant circulating virus, over influenza and other respiratory viruses.”
Source Daily Express :: Health Feed