A "twindemic" is what doctors are now worried about heading into flu season

Health officials are worried about what they're calling a "twindemic." That's people getting sick with both COVID-19 and the flu.

Posted: Sep 17, 2020 8:35 PM

ROCHESTER, Minn. - Health officials are now worried about a "twindemic" as we're heading into flu season. It's a combination of both COVID-19 and the flu. 

Every year, there's a seasonal flu that sweeps through the nation leaving many people hospitalized and now doctors are worried about a double whammy. Every year, 5% to 20% of people get sick with the flu. In 2019, health officials reported about 60,000 deaths due to the flu and keep in mind, that wasn't during a time of COVID-19.

The President of the Minnesota Medical Association, Dr. Keith Stelter, explained the flu vaccine is anywhere from 40% to 50% effective. He said in 2017, 5.3 million illnesses and 85,000 hospitalizations were prevented because of the flu vaccine. This year, hospitals need as many rooms available for COVID-19 since there isn't a vaccine available yet. "So if we add 85,000 hospitalizations to those that we're already seeing with COVID, that would add just even more hospitalizations and overburden our health care system," explained Dr. Stelter.

It is possible to get both COVID-19 and the flu at the same time because they're two very different viruses. "Both COVID and the flu have quite similar symptoms, so trying to diagnose the two and they're treated very differently leads us to more stress on our testing systems that we can't really tell what we have," explained Dr. Stelter. Because the symptoms are so similar, the big one with COVID-19 is the loss of taste and smell. He said it's best to get tested for COVID-19 just in case. Researchers are in the process of creating a test for all the viruses at once.

Many area pharmacies already have the flu shot available and it'll last all season long, which can run through May.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 697182

Reported Deaths: 8169
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1427711862
Ramsey59431953
Dakota53075503
Anoka48987486
Washington31228315
Stearns25428242
St. Louis20900339
Scott20039146
Wright18954165
Olmsted16269112
Sherburne13840106
Carver1237052
Clay936897
Rice9278125
Blue Earth888747
Crow Wing8070102
Kandiyohi753292
Chisago733858
Otter Tail689897
Benton6653102
Mower576238
Winona564852
Goodhue560581
Douglas549484
Beltrami534672
Itasca532572
Steele520221
McLeod519665
Isanti500470
Morrison478263
Nobles455650
Becker455060
Polk444575
Freeborn438142
Lyon402454
Carlton399160
Nicollet387848
Pine384026
Mille Lacs363860
Brown358244
Cass355536
Le Sueur348230
Todd333034
Meeker314049
Waseca297626
Martin271633
Wabasha25005
Dodge24865
Hubbard241941
Roseau238224
Houston211217
Redwood206642
Fillmore204510
Renville204248
Pennington196022
Wadena192927
Faribault184925
Sibley180310
Cottonwood179424
Chippewa173439
Kanabec168329
Aitkin159239
Watonwan157211
Rock142919
Jackson136112
Pope13378
Yellow Medicine128720
Pipestone126126
Koochiching125119
Swift120319
Murray117610
Stevens110011
Clearwater109218
Marshall107619
Lake94321
Wilkin91014
Lac qui Parle89424
Mahnomen7339
Big Stone7024
Grant6938
Norman6829
Lincoln6724
Kittson54222
Unassigned52893
Red Lake5067
Traverse4375
Lake of the Woods4204
Cook2150

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 443535

Reported Deaths: 6420
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk69441683
Linn26618363
Scott23312265
Black Hawk19397338
Woodbury17483233
Johnson1698692
Dubuque14775221
Pottawattamie13369186
Dallas13048102
Story1211448
Warren707893
Webster6479103
Cerro Gordo6370105
Clinton635898
Des Moines618084
Muscatine5985109
Marshall586981
Sioux547676
Jasper532076
Lee529084
Wapello5230128
Unassigned50150
Buena Vista479442
Marion464086
Plymouth442185
Henry351341
Jones341159
Bremer331365
Washington330454
Crawford326844
Carroll326553
Benton325756
Boone318636
Mahaska282754
Dickinson276547
Kossuth257471
Clay255629
Jackson253844
Tama246073
Hardin244547
Buchanan244238
Delaware240143
Cedar228025
Fayette227945
Page225724
Wright221741
Winneshiek219237
Hamilton216752
Harrison205476
Madison199920
Clayton199758
Floyd195742
Butler191936
Poweshiek188837
Mills188225
Iowa185927
Cherokee184740
Allamakee181152
Jefferson178238
Lyon178041
Calhoun172213
Hancock170336
Winnebago170131
Cass164356
Louisa161651
Grundy161335
Appanoose158149
Shelby156539
Emmet153241
Franklin152224
Humboldt151626
Union149937
Sac147922
Mitchell146143
Guthrie142132
Chickasaw141618
Palo Alto134527
Clarke130226
Montgomery127940
Keokuk121332
Monroe118733
Howard118422
Ida109838
Davis105025
Greene103012
Pocahontas102623
Monona99034
Lucas98523
Adair97734
Worth9558
Osceola84717
Decatur76710
Fremont76511
Van Buren75221
Taylor73412
Wayne66323
Ringgold63027
Audubon60114
Adams4254
Rochester
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