In just eight months, Covid-19 has killed more Americans than the flu did during the last five flu seasons combined.
The novel coronavirus is also much more contagious than the flu. While research shows that someone with the flu infects an average of about 1.28 other people, someone with Covid-19 infects an average of about 2 to 3 other people when mitigation efforts such as stay-at-home orders or masks are not in place.
On top of that, the coronavirus can be spread for many days without symptoms. The incubation period for the flu is much shorter, meaning people are likely to start feeling sick earlier and avoid contact with others.
There’s also a vaccine available for the flu and experts say the number of flu deaths could be drastically reduced if more people got flu shots.
YOU ASKED. WE ANSWERED
Q. Is it safe to get a flu shot in the fall?
A: Yes. And please do so, doctors say.
This year, it’s “more important than ever to get a flu shot because we will almost certainly face the double whammy of flu season coinciding the same time as surging cases of Covid-19,” emergency room physician Dr. Leana Wen said.
And a flu/coronavirus double whammy could be disastrous if it overwhelms the healthcare system. An estimated 410,000 to 740,000 Americans were hospitalized with the flu this past flu season, from October to April, according to the CDC.
Wen said the flu shot is about 40% to 60% effective. But even if you do get the flu after having been vaccinated, the flu shot “still reduces your chance of having severe effects from the flu.”
And yes, it is possible to have the flu and Covid-19 at the same time.
WHAT’S IMPORTANT TODAY
The White House coronavirus outbreak is spreading
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The researchers found that overall, 82% of the 509 Covid-19 patients had neurological symptoms at any time during the course of their Covid-19 illness. The most frequent manifestations were muscle pain, headaches, encephalopathy and dizziness.
FDA wants two months of safety data before considering Covid-19 vaccine
That would make it difficult, if not impossible, for any vaccine maker to apply for emergency use authorization by Election Day, as President Trump has suggested, or by the end of October, as the CEO of Pfizer has hinted.
ON OUR RADAR
- Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, is getting the action figure treatment.
- Vermont is battling a Covid-19 outbreak among migrant workers at an apple orchard.
- Anheuser-Busch is sending 6,500 gallons of hand sanitizer to Texas for Election Day.
- A man escaped coronavirus quarantine in South Korea by digging a hole underneath a temporary wall at a government facility in Seoul — one day before he was due to be released.
- Singapore will pay citizens to have a baby during the pandemic.
- Apple’s new face mask emoji is now hiding a smile.
TODAY’S TOP TIP
With everything going on this year, mental health has become a major focus for employers, and some companies are increasing their offerings to help their workers stay healthy amid so much uncertainty.
- Scheduling meeting-free times
- Increasing access to professional help
- Offering apps and subscriptions
- Being candid and empathetic
“Every rally, every protest — it doesn’t matter — if you’re gathering together in a large group of people, there has almost certainly been transmission.” — Erin Bromage, CNN Medical Analyst