Public health experts are already bracing for one of the worst flu seasons in recent memory as they prepare for the novel coronavirus to become intermixed with influenza infections, potentially leading to a devastating preponderance of dual infections, Bloomberg reports.
With few experts actually expecting a widely available vaccine before the end of the year, Covid activity is expected to “continue for some time” and “could place a tremendous burden” on a health care system that remains vulnerable even as cases and hospitalizations have tapered off in the worst-hit areas, even as other parts of the US rise up to fill their place.
Dr. Fauci is expected to share more warnings about the upcoming flu season, which typically begins in the fall, during his Congressional testimony on Tuesday.
on an already stretched health-care system if coupled with the influenza season that comes each fall, top officials including Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, will tell House lawmakers on Tuesday, according to prepared testimony.
According to already released testimony, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield, Fauci and Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Stephen Hahn will tell Congress that the duration of the pandemic remains unknown, and that despite all the fanfare surrounding “Operation Warp Speed” and the 130+ ongoing trials for various candidates, the likelihood of a vaccine available before the end of the year remains low.
“The rigorous clinical testing required to establish vaccine safety and efficacy means that it might take some time for a licensed SARS-CoV-2 vaccine to be available to the general public,” according to prepared testimony by NIAID. “The Covid-19 response currently is focused on the proven public health practices of containment and mitigation.”
In preparation for the coming onslaught, the CDC has developed a test that can check for both of the viruses at the same time. Emergency approval by the FDA has been requested, and will likely be granted.
“This will save public health laboratories both time and resources, including testing materials that are in short supply,” the officials said.
The administration is already taking steps to help parts of the country prepare for flu season. The CDC gave $140 million earlier this month to 64 jurisdictions throughout the country to help states prepare for the flu season through an existing immunization agreement in an attempt to increase vaccination and testing among vulnerable populations.
At this point, the biggest risk factor is the growing exodus of public health officials who are simply tired of being harassed and treated by political footballs by both Republicans and Democrats.