Winter flu season is typical, and most of us are used to it by now. However, the Covid-19 virus might spice things up a little bit. Researchers are concerned that the coming flu season might be more severe due to the latest virus variant. We live in uncertain times, and the coming winter could make things worse.
“We may be entering flu season with a higher level of susceptibility than usual, which could exacerbate the risks,” says epidemiologist Lauren Ancel Meyers, director of the University of Texas Covid-19 Modeling Consortium.
The epidemiologist advises people to get the vaccine by fall to minimize the risks. Although it’s just a possibility, the evolution of Covid-19, the delta version, could negatively affect the upcoming winter flu season.
We didn’t really have a winter flu season last year. The flu vanished during the pandemic due to a higher level of immunity. Will it be the same this year?
“As with Covid, when somebody recovers from a seasonal influenza infection, they retain some level of immunity that protects them against future infection, at least for a short period of time. Since our Covid mitigation measures prevented influenza transmission last year, there are not a whole lot of people who were recently infected,” she said.
Prepare for the worst-case scenario
The nasty winter flu season was signalled by Professor Chris Whitty, England’s chief medical officer.
“Either we will have a very significant Covid surge, people will minimize their contacts and we will have less respiratory viruses, or people will be back to a more normal life, there will be some Covid but on top of that we will go back to having a flu surge, an RSV (respiratory syncytial virus, a common respiratory virus that usually causes mild, cold-like symptoms) surge in children, and so on.”
“I think we need to be aware of and brace for the fact that the coming winter may well be quite a difficult one,” he said back in June.
It is up to us to protect ourselves and the others around us as best as we can.