- If the coronavirus continues to rage, the United States could experience the worst public health crisis in modern history, warned the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Robert Redfield, and said the mix of coronavirus with the annual flu season could lead to a public health crisis.
- He advised people not only to “wear a mask, social distance, wash your hands and be wise about crowds,” but also to get a flu shot. Influenza killed 80,000 Americans in the 2017-2018 season.
- Getting a flu shot helps protect people and limit the strain on health care.
- Redfield said the measures used to limit the spread of coronavirus could also help curb the flu.
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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned that public health in the United States could reach a critical time in the fall season if the coronavirus continues to rage.
The seasonal flu combined with growing cases of coronavirus could amplify the effects of the deadly pandemic, said CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield during an interview with the medical blog, WebMD.
“I ask you to do four simple things: wear a mask, social distance, wash your hands and be smart with crowds. If you do these four things, it will bring this outburst down,”
“I keep telling people I’m not asking some of America to do it – we all have to do it,” Redfield said, suggesting that where the United States travels from here depends in part on whether Americans practice the recommended steps that scientists and public health officials have been advocating for several months since COVID-19 began spreading in the United States.
“It depends on how the American people choose to react,” Redfield said. “It really is the worst times or the best times, depending on the American public. I’m optimistic.”
The United States is among the countries with the highest number of confirmed coronavirus cases and deaths, with over 5.2 million registered infections and more than 167,000 deaths per year. August 13.
On Wednesday, the United States reported 55,910 new cases. The country also recorded the highest number of deaths in a single day since mid-May: 1,499.
Redfield also advised Americans to get their flu shot this year, stressing that the measures used to limit the spread of coronavirus, such as social distancing and wearing masks, would also help limit the spread of flu.
According to CBS News, influenza is a common cause of death in the United States, but less than half of the population received a flu vaccine last year.
The flu season 2017-2018 was the deadliest in modern history. More than 80,000 people died from the viral infection, CNN reported at the time.
The CDC has urged the public to get a flu shot to help protect themselves and also limit the burden on health care. Redfield hopes to have 65% of the population vaccinated against influenza this year, CBS reported.
“We want COVID in the fall, and we want the flu in the fall, and one of them even can stress certain hospital systems,” Redfield said. “I’ve seen intensive care units in the hospital stretched by a severe flu season, and we’ve clearly seen that recently with COVID.”
“So by getting that flu vaccine, you may be able to dismiss the need to have to take up a hospital bed, and then the hospital bed may be more accessible to those who are hospitalized with COVID,” he said.