Dr. Anthony Fauci, the respected head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has a dire warning for the citizens of the United States. Last Thursday, he warned that people should be ready to “hunker down” this fall to fight COVID-19. Dr. Fauci believes that things are going to get worse and there will be a surge in cases.
7. Never Underestimate COVID-19
While addressing a panel of doctors from the Harvard Medical School, Dr. Fauci went on to say, “Don’t ever, ever underestimate the potential of the pandemic. And don’t try to look at the rosy side of things.” Clearly, the numbers speak for themselves. Currently, the death toll in the U.S. stands at close to 205,000 and the number continues to increase at an alarming rate.
6. Looking to the Southern Hemisphere
In the southern hemisphere of the globe, winter is ending, and spring is set to arrive. Clearly, mask wearing and other preventative measures did work to slow not only the spread of COVID-19, but also appeared to slow the spread of the flu and prevent outbreaks. However, despite those promising indications, it is uncertain if the northern hemisphere will fare as well.
5. The Coming Flu Season
Dr. Robert Redfield, the director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told the Associated Press, “This could be one of the worst seasons we’ve had from a public health perspective with COVID and flu coming together. But it also could be one of the best flu seasons we’ve had.”
4. Should You Get a Flu Shot?
Dr. Fauci told Jenifer Garner on Instagram Live, “You really should get a flu shot.” However, you might want to wait a little while and not rush right out for the vaccination. Fauci said that he believes in getting his own vaccine “towards the middle and end of October.”
“I wouldn’t necessarily get it now, in September, because there is evidence that, in fact, the immunity might wear off when you get to February and early March,” Dr. Fauci went on to say.
However, in previous years, the influenza vaccine has run out, so many people feel panic to immediately get the vaccination. However, Dr. Fauci did take the time to address the concerns of many about the vaccine being depleted and said it is “really unlikely”.
3. Timing and the Flu Vaccination
Dr. David Hirschwerk, who works as an infectious disease specialist at Northwell Health, agrees with Dr. Fauci and suggests that anyone who is elderly or immunocompromised should wait a “little longer before getting vaccinated” because it can wear off if you get it too early. Young and healthy individuals do not necessarily have to wait and can get their flu vaccination at any time.
Dr. Hirschwerk goes on to say, “From year to year it can be challenging to know when exactly the influenza season begins, and many experts have advised September and October are optimal times to get the flu shot.”Related: 7 Considerations When Gearing Up for Your Annual Flu Shot
2. Doctors Brace for a Surge of COVID-19
Nationwide, doctors are bracing for a surge of COVID-19 in the fall and winter. Dr. Paul Biddinger, who works as director of emergency preparedness at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, said, “We are absolutely preparing for the possibility of a second surge.”
“If we were to be experiencing a surge of COVID patients and a surge of influenza patients,” Dr. Biddinger went on to say, “that obviously is just going to be a significant challenge, in terms of trying to make sure we have enough care resources available.”
1. The Importance of the Flu Vaccination
He added, “This is perhaps the most important year for influenza vaccination that we’ve ever had. I think we think that their lighter flu seasons have to do with the masking, and the hand-washing, and physical distancing, etc.”
In these uncertain times with COVID-19, it is imperative that everyone receive their flu vaccination. As Dr. Biddinger said, “To minimize the chance that they have symptoms themselves and have to go get tested and have to receive medical care. There are just so many reasons that we want to encourage flu vaccinations.”Related: 9 Vaccines Adults May Want to Consider