Health experts are warning of a “twindemic” that could hit the United States this year as COVID-19 cases surge ahead of the forthcoming flu season.

Will there be a ‘twindemic’ this year?

Experts are concerned that the forthcoming winter will resemble a typical flu season due to students heading back to school and loosened mask mandates across the country, according to USA Today. It doesn’t help, either, those social distancing rules have been dropped, too.

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And, above all, the forthcoming flu season arrives as the novel coronavirus continues to spread rapidly. Specifically, the delta variant of the coronavirus has shown to be highly transmissible, spreading like wildfire throughout the nation.

  • “We were worried about the ‘twindemic’ last year and we face the same threat this year,” Dr. Daniel Solomon, a physician in the division of infectious diseases at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, told USA Today. “COVID-19 is likely to continue, and we face the threat of dual respiratory viruses that could put a strain on our health care system.”

Were there a lot of flu cases in 2020?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said there were 1,675 cases of influenza from Sept. 28 to May 22 for the entire United States.

  • The U.S. saw a record low amount of flu cases because of COVID-19 measures, as I wrote for the Deseret News. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in January that the flu pretty much vanished from the U.S. because people were taking precautionary measures to say safe from COVID-19.

What happened in 2020 with the flu and COVID-19?

Infectious disease experts expressed worry that the flu season and COVID-19 would create a “perfect storm” that would make millions of people sick.

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Dr. Jeanne Marrazzo, director of the division of infectious diseases at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, said last fall that there would be flu and COVID-19 cases all at once, according to the Centers for Infectious Disease Research and Policy.

  • “The big concern this year, of course, is that we are going to see what could be a perfect storm of accelerated COVID-19 activity as people gather more inside, in particular, as they become continually fatigued with the mask wearing, the social distancing, and the hand hygiene, and as they are exposed to seasonal influenza,” Marrazzo said.

Similarly, experts wrote in an editorial published in Science that the overlap could create massive stress.

  • “Much of the population remains susceptible to SARS-CoV-2, and the stress on hospitals will be greatest if the COVID-19 and influenza epidemics overlap and peak around the same time,” they wrote.
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