Risks of Coinfection: Understanding COVID-19 and Flu Surges in Baltimore

Title: Surge of COVID-19 and Flu Cases Alarms Health Experts, Urgency for Vaccination Grows

Subtitle: CDC’s latest report reveals concerning levels of flu and COVID-19 cases across the U.S.

Baltimore, MD – The ongoing respiratory virus season in the United States has brought about an unprecedented challenge as both COVID-19 and the flu surge simultaneously. Health experts are warning of the potential devastation as these two highly contagious viruses continue to spread throughout the community without any clear sign of reaching a peak.

New data from NYU Langone Health shows that the number of positive tests for flu and COVID-19 are nearly equal, with slightly more individuals falling sick with COVID-19. This alarming trend has raised concerns among health professionals across the country, particularly in Washington State, where they anticipate significant impacts in the weeks to come.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported high or very high flu levels in at least 38 states, estimating a staggering 10 million flu illnesses in the past week alone. Adding to the concern is the CDC’s update indicating a 20% increase in COVID-19-related hospitalizations in the most recent week.

Fortunately, coinfection of both COVID-19 and flu appears to be rare, with only a minuscule 3% of hospitalized flu patients testing positive for COVID-19 last year. However, experts emphasize the severity of experiencing both infections simultaneously, which can lead to worsened symptoms, an increased need for ventilation, and a higher chance of mortality.

While a lingering cough or runny nose does not automatically indicate the presence of both viruses, it is crucial for individuals, particularly those at high risk, to stay up-to-date on COVID-19 and flu vaccinations. Differentiating between the two viruses is crucial when it comes to isolation and treatment recommendations.

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To further combat the rising cases, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized at-home tests that can effectively detect and distinguish between both COVID-19 and flu. In an effort to widen access to testing, the federal program “Test to Treat” is offering free access to these tests.

For those who are not considered high risk, health officials recommend staying at home if feeling unwell, as treatment for both COVID-19 and the flu is primarily supportive and similar.

Above all, the most critical preventive measure is getting vaccinated against COVID-19 and the flu. In light of the concurrent surges, health authorities are urging individuals to prioritize vaccination, especially for high-risk groups.

As the nation grapples with this unprecedented healthcare challenge, it is crucial for everyone to remain vigilant, take necessary precautions, and follow the advice and guidance of healthcare professionals. The simultaneous surges of COVID-19 and the flu require collective action in order to minimize the impact on public health and protect vulnerable communities.

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