Could We Face a ‘Twindemic’? – NBC New York

Flu season is in full swing, and as New York Metropolis is combating the COVID delta variant, some medical professionals warn of a potential “twindemic.”

“A ‘twindemic’ is a term that’s being increasingly used to explain the potential of having both pandemics of the influenza virus, the flu, and the coronavirus at the same time,” stated Dr. Tobias Barker, Chief Medical Officer of Everside Well being, to NBC New York.

To Barker, the primary concern is enjoyable sure COVID restrictions, corresponding to masking and social distancing. Having these COVID guidelines in place final 12 months through the peak of the pandemic assisted in assuaging flu virus instances.

To present perspective, final 12 months’s flu season got here at a historic low. In the course of the 2020-2021 season, the least variety of influenza-associated hospitalizations had been recorded since CDC information assortment started in 2005.

Throughout the U.S. there was a document excessive distribution of flu vaccine doses – over 193 million. This 2021-2022 season, the CDC tasks to provide 188 to 200 million doses nationwide.

As a result of the flu season was so lowered final 12 months, Dr. Syra Madad, Senior Director of the System-wide Particular Pathogens Program at NYC Well being + Hospitals, believes the potential threat for a ‘twindemic’ might be excessive.

The chance could be very excessive for a few completely different causes. First, as we have a look at common inhabitants immunity, as a result of we virtually had a nonexistant flu season final 12 months, I believe we nonetheless have a lot of susceptible, vulnerable people this 12 months if now we have a extra extreme flu season.

Dr. Syra Madad
Senior Director, NYC Well being + Hospitals

On high of that, Madad agrees that common rest of COVID prevention measures, corresponding to much less masking and bodily distancing, are behavioral components that would assist unfold respiratory sickness.

Amongst all medical doctors who spoke with NBC New York, the easiest way to evade the flu is by getting the annual shot. Nonetheless, misinformation and disinformation surrounding each the flu and COVID vaccines proceed to carry again people from receiving their vaccination doses, based on a current survey.

Multiple-third of Individuals should not planning on getting the flu shot this 12 months, based mostly on a nationwide research performed this September by Everside Well being and The Harris Ballot.

When requested why, these had been the most well-liked responses amongst over 2,000 adults surveyed:

  • “I didn’t get the flu last year”: 30%
  • “I don’t think I’d get that sick if I got the flu, so I’m not worried about it”: 21%
  • “I wear a mask and social distance, so those things will protect me from the flu”: 17%
  • “The flu shot will give me the flu”: 16%
  • “I work remotely, so my exposure to the flu will be relatively low”: 9%

Healthcare professionals attempt to fight false narratives by reinforcing how and why vaccines can’t provide the examined sickness.

“It’s unfortunate that vaccines have become a political agenda item. We’ve been administering vaccines since the early 1900’s and the results speak for themselves,” stated Dr. Ian Leber, Chief Medical Officer of Sollis Well being.

In the identical research, of those that don’t plan on getting a flu vaccine, 1 in 12 imagine the COVID vaccine will defend them from the influenza virus. That is not true.

The composition of this 12 months’s U.S. flu vaccine is formulated to guard towards the 4 influenza viruses that analysis suggests can be commonest. The COVID vaccine protects you from coronavirus, which has separate virology from influenza with genomes differing in polarity and segmentation.

In the meantime, over the past 4 weeks, the delta variant stays the dominant COVID pressure in New York Metropolis, based on NYC Health data.

With metropolis and federal mandates, extra residents are required to get COVID vaccinated. As of information accessible Friday, 92% of metropolis staff have obtained at the least one dose for the reason that vaccine mandate for municipal staff went into impact. In complete, simply over 67% of New York Metropolis residents are fully vaccinated.

“There is a risk of not just influenza and COVID alone, but when both of these viruses come together – that’s what can really increase hospitalization risks and illness in members of the community,” stated Dr. J.D. Zipkin, Chief Medical Officer at Northwell Well being’s GoHealth Pressing Care.

In accordance with the CDC, the flu vaccine, COVID vaccine, and/or booster might be administered on the identical time – and to get each doses as quickly as potential.

“Anybody can get both the vaccines together – there is no decrease in the effectiveness of either of the vaccines when given together at one point of time,” stated Siddhartha Datta, WHO Europe’s regional adviser, throughout information briefing this week.

The WHO not too long ago warned that Europe is going through a worrying resurgence of COVID-19 instances changing into as soon as once more the area “at the epicenter of the pandemic,” with new day by day case numbers reaching document ranges.

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