Coronavirus versus the flu

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WMTV/NBC) – Now declared a public health emergency, the coronavirus is dominating the news across the globe. However, health officials in the U.S. continue to say that influenza is still the main virus that Americans need to be concerned about.

Brenda Klahn is an infection preventionist. She explained, “It’s making the news, and people are dying. So that always freaks people out. But people are dying from influenza. We’ve had a lot more deaths from influenza in the United States.”

In fact, there have been millions of cases and thousands of deaths as the United States sees peak levels of influenza across the country.

In the meantime, medical experts are hearing patient concerns for a different illness without a vaccine. Klahn said, “I have a friend who said, ‘If I had a vaccine for the coronavirus, I would have people lined up for it.’ Well, the flu is quite more serious right now, and yet people aren’t getting their flu vaccinations.”

And experts say the odds of getting sick from coronavirus aren’t very high either. “People are not out there and about with coronavirus, walking down the halls or walking in the grocery store,” Klahn said. “People aren’t out and about with coronavirus right now.”

Instead, the CDC estimates 21 million Americans will get the flu this season, meaning its imperative you get your flu shot and stay home from work or school if you’re sick.

Even though the coronavirus risk is low for Americans, medical experts are monitoring clinics and hospitals for patients who may have recently traveled to Wuhan, China. They will continue to monitor virus numbers in case it continues to spread over the coming weeks.

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