“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.”
After being cooped up in our homes for more than five months because of the coronavirus pandemic, we all probably have a little Jack Torrance in us (though hopefully not the murder-y parts).
Unfortunately, it might get worse before it gets better. Health officials are sounding the alarm about the fall and winter, when the coronavirus pandemic will likely join forces with the seasonal flu to wreak havoc on our health, just as we’re all forced back indoors due to the weather.
The two viruses are remarkably similar, both spreading through respiratory droplets and leading to many of the same symptoms. Hospitals often fill up in December and January when flu season really takes off, so a “twindemic” has the potential to be a real threat to our health care system. Even in a mild flu season like last year, there were an estimated 24,000 to 62,000 flu-related deaths and upward of 56 million cases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Robert Redfield, the director of the CDC, warned this could be the worst fall in history. Philadelphia Health Commissioner Thomas Farley said Thursday respiratory infections are worst in fall and winter, and residents should be cautious as those seasons approach.
But there is a glimmer of hopeful news. In several countries in the Southern Hemisphere, which experiences fall and winter between April and August, influenza was almost nonexistent due to anti-coronavirus measures, such as mandatory masks and tight lockdowns at schools.
While there isn’t yet a vaccine for the coronavirus, there is one for influenza. So get your flu shot as soon as you can, make sure you wear a mask, and hopefully we’ll all be able to get together and party next year like it’s 1921. Just avoid those creepy twins in the hallway.