The Community Spread of Covid-19 and Influenza


Influenza and COVID-19, two viruses, in which are expected to become a “twindemic”

Kendyl Reichard, Reporter

Covid-19, a virus with an unknown cause, has taken the lives of many innocent citizens. As of today, worldwide there are 33,827,912 total cases and 1,011,880 deaths, and flu season is just around the corner. Each year between 12,000 and 61,000 deaths occur from the flu. The question arises of how Covid-19 and influenza are expected to impact the U.S.? 

The overlap of Covid-19 and influenza has epidemiologists concerned. The U.S. will face two epidemics together at the same time and this combination could be very deadly. “The worst-case scenario is both [the coronavirus and flu] are spreading fast and causing severe disease, complicating diagnoses and presenting a double burden on the healthcare system,” says Marc Lipsitch, an Epidemiologist at Harvard University. Some changes, which people have already used to flatten the curve of Covid-19 such as social distancing, hand washing, and mask wearing, could reduce the impact of the flu, and ultimately save many lives. Health care professionals are also advising getting the flu shot this season.  

Infectious disease experts worry about the combination of influenza and coronavirus for multiple reasons, testing out whether a person has flu or coronavirus, which have very similar symptoms will require testing for both viruses, at this time, Covid-19 tests are often slow and some people may get infected with multiple viruses simultaneously, which could make symptoms more severe.

It was reported in a statement from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that “Limited Covid-19 vaccine doses may be available by early November 2020.” Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the CDC, distributed a letter to governors which asked them to prepare vaccine distribution sites by November 1. But with limited doses the question arises, when will a vaccine, for those who wish to receive one, be available for everyone?

Sophomore Alexis Bartosek, who goes to school during this pandemic, states, “I don’t expect a vaccine anytime soon because I’m not even sure that the CDC have been able to correctly test people on whether they have Covid-19 or not.” 

Bartosek may be correct with her assertion. According to reporter Niko Kommenda of “The Guardian,” “More than 170 teams of researchers are racing to develop a safe and effective vaccine.” Today there are 142 pre-clinical vaccines that are not yet in human testing trials and only 11 that have made it through a three phase process to phase three’s large scale efficacy trials.  There are currently no vaccines approved for general use.