Colorado doctor warns of possibility of ‘twindemic’ as flu season gets underway

Coronavirus

AURORA, Colo. (KDVR) — With all the talk about COVID vaccines, don’t forget it’s also time for your flu vaccine.

Doctors are warning about the possibility of a “twindemic” which would be a COVID pandemic and a flu pandemic at the same time.

Dr. Michelle Barron, the senior medical director of infection prevention at UCHealth, says last year there was not much flu activity at all because people were working from home, many schools operated remotely, and masking was prevalent.

There were only 34 flu hospitalizations in Colorado for the 2020-2021 flu season, down from 3,546 flu hospitalizations the year before. But Barron says this flu season could be different as people are going back to work and school and there is less masking. 

“I think it’s important to remind people that just because it wasn’t a prominent virus last year, doesn’t mean it’s gone away,” she said.

Barron says there is also a possibility of a twindemic, involving both COVID and the flu. “The idea is worrisome,” she said.

Historically flu pandemics happen about every 10 years, and the last one was in 2009. 

“So, if you do the math, we are due for a flu pandemic as well with a novel, different, strain of flu that we haven’t seen before, which is obviously just a nightmare in terms of thinking about what that means for us as a population,” she said. 

A flu pandemic could strain the hospital system even more, so Barron suggests getting vaccinated for both COVID and the flu.

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