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Dr. Fauci Just Gave This Grim Warning for Winter

Here’s what you need to do to avoid a ‘twindemic.’
Dr. Anthony Fauci

When cold and flu season meet the COVID pandemic, things could get messy—we could have a possible "twindemic." However, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, points out that there are some precautionary measures we can take to ease the potential damage. Read on, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.

Get Your Flu Shots or There Might be a Twindemic

"We should continue to encourage people to get vaccinated with the influenza vaccine," he told Judy Woodruff of PBS yesterday. Fauci also pointed out that if our trends follow those seen in the southern hemisphere, where they experienced a much milder cold and flu season, "that would be a very good and favorable thing." "We think because people have done public health measures to avoid infection with the coronavirus — namely masks, distancing, avoiding crowds, washing hands — we've had the secondary effect that there are less influenza infections," he explained. "In fact, in Australia this year for that influenza season, which goes from April to September, they've had one of the lowest rates of influenza infection in memory. So if we can do that, I think that would be very favorable."

However, there could be several issues when COVID does converge with the cold and flu, the first being wintertime in general. "When you have winter and indoors, you can expect an uptick of any type of respiratory illnesses. If we do have a full blown flu season, which I hope we don't, and we do not get control over the coronavirus, you can have several challenges," he says. 

The first? "Differentiating between COVID and flu, because there are medications for the flu and we're getting more and more medications for COVID," he says. "Number two. We wouldn't want to see an overwhelming of the healthcare delivery system, for example, hospital beds and intensive care unit beds, and even healthcare personnel," he continued. "That would be really a very serious issue if we begin to see any overwhelming of that. And that's the reason why, when you have two coexisting infections during the winter months, it becomes problematic."

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'We Will Come to a Natural End to This'

Calling the chances of a vaccine by Election Day "very unlikely," Dr. Fauci stresses the importance of "being vigilant" about the virus despite the "coronavirus fatigue" that many are feeling as we approach the year-mark of coronavirus. "It is clearly a risk when you've been, you know, exhaustingly involved in something now for eight months," he confessed. "One of the things that I do, and I believe it can be effective is to remind people that there will be an end to this. We will end this crisis that we are in right now, both from a public health standpoint and from a scientific standpoint, for example, with vaccines and treatments, when people know there's an end in sight, they can hang on a bit longer. It's when they throw their hands up in exasperation and say, 'this is the never going to end. So to heck with it, why don't we just get on with our lives and do what we want to do?' That can be a very dangerous conclusion to arrive at because it leads to carelessness and even more infections and the propagation of the pandemic. But when people see that, if they just hang in there a little bit more, we will come to a natural end to this. And that's what I try to emphasize to people when I speak." 

As for yourself: to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.