- The coronavirus pandemic combined with the upcoming flu season might be “the worst fall, from a public health perspective, we’ve ever had.”
- CDC Director Robert Redfield made this statement, and he is once again warning Americans that everyone has to do a few simple things to prevent a catastrophe: “Wear a mask, social distance, wash your hands, and be smart about crowds.”
- These safety measures reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, which is crucial ahead of the upcoming flu season.
Wash your hands often, avoid crowds, practice social distancing when you’re out of the house, and wear a face mask. These are the simple things anyone can do to reduce the risk of catching COVID-19. None of them offer foolproof protection, but they can reduce transmission rates significantly. In addition to protecting yourself and your loved ones, you’ll be helping healthcare workers who have been dealing with this health crisis for months. You would also help health officials who are managing the crisis and the resources needed to fight the illness. And you’d continue to buy more time for researchers who are studying vaccines and breakthrough therapies to combat the novel coronavirus.
Ignore these guidelines, and you won’t just risk exposing yourself and other people to a virus that can infect anyone with ease and kill plenty of people in the process. You might also help fuel a nightmare scenario in which both the coronavirus and the flu spread throughout the country at the same time. It’s not just going to be a problem for hospital logistics, but also for people who might catch both illnesses at the same time.
The Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Robert Redfield warned in the past that the flu season could be problematic if the coronavirus infection curve isn’t flattened by then. He did it several months ago and again a few weeks ago. The coronavirus infection rate is even higher now than it was at the start of the pandemic, with about a month of summer left. Dr. Anthony Fauci said earlier this week that if Americans don’t respect the simple safety measures, there’s a real risk of coronavirus and flu infections to converge in some places once cold weather arrives.
Redfield stressed upon the seriousness of the situation in an interview with WebMD, via CNN. He said this could be “the worst fall, from a public health perspective, we’ve ever had.”
He continued, “For your country right now and for the war that we’re in against COVID, I’m asking you to do four simple things: wear a mask, social distance, wash your hands and be smart about crowds. I’m not asking some of America to do it. We all gotta do it.”
Redfield also advised people to get vaccinated for the flu to help eliminate one of the two risks. A flu vaccine isn’t 100% effective and you might still get the flu, but it can help reduce the risk. “By getting vaccinated, you can protect your children,” he said. “When we look at the mortality that we see with flu, one thing is for certain. The kids that get vaccinated, they basically get protected against death.”
The CDC bought more than 10 million doses of the flu vaccine for uninsured adults this year, which is 20 times more than the typical 500,000 doses it buys.
Redfield said he’s cautiously optimistic that one or more COVID-19 vaccines will be ready by the start of 2021. Even if vaccines do get approved this fall or winter, healthcare professionals will get them first and the general public won’t have access to them until much later. It could be several months before immunization campaigns start in the US and elsewhere.