MAURY COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) – News 2 checked in with several hospitals in Middle Tennessee and as of Tuesday, Maury Regional Medical Center has the area’s first admitted patient battling COVID-19 and flu at the same time.
“When you get influenza which is a respiratory illness and you get COVID, which also impacts the respiratory tract, it only makes sense that those individuals are going to have a serious respiratory component with shortness of breath, potential for respiratory failure is very high in co-infection.” Maury Regional Health Chief Medical Officer Martin Chaney told News 2.
According to Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC), COVID-19 is 10 times more deadly than the flu. The potential for higher death rates for those that get both is hard to predict at this point.
“When COVID hit the United States it was right at the tail end of flu season, and places that were impacted early like Washington State, they did see co-infections,” Chaney explained, “Those co-infections tended to be worse than COVID alone, but it was right at the end of flu season, so we’ve not seen that enough I think to know exactly what the impact of co-infection is going to be.”
However, doctors also say the measures people are taking to protect themselves from covid-19 seem to be helping with flu transmission as well.
“One of the good things that we’ve seen from areas of the world that are already through their flu season is that the measure that they took to slow the transmission of COVID-19 have also reduced the likelihood that influenza will circulate,” said David Aronoff an infectious disease doctor at VUMC.
Doctors say it’s all the more important to not get pandemic fatigue, but to continue to wear a mask, socially distance, hand sanitize and very important to get a flu shot.
According to the CDC, it can be hard to tell the difference between the flu and COVID with the wide variety of symptoms to no symptoms. The CDC says the best way to tell with COVID is the loss of taste and smell.
While we wait for a COVID-19 vaccine, the best defense against getting both COVID and the flu is to get the flu vaccine.