People who get Covid and flu at same time ‘twice as likely to die’, health chief says

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The head of the health protection agency has said that early evidence suggests that people who catch the coronavirus and the flu at the same time are “twice as likely to die”.

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Britain is facing an uncertain winter amid the spread of both viruses, Dr Jenny Harris warned, as she said this year’s flu could be “multi-stress” and reiterated that the natural aftermath of last year’s lockdown Immunity is low, with fewer than average numbers affected. cold.

Asked how worried the public should be about the flu this winter, she told Sky Trevor Phillips on Sunday: “We should be worried about the flu every winter. I think people still don’t realize that it can be a deadly disease.


“Recent studies show that about 25 percent of us don’t really understand it. On average, about 11,000 people have died from flu-related conditions in the past five years.”

With flu cases becoming rare last winter as a result of social distancing, Dr Harris – who also leads the newly formed UK Health Protection Agency – said this year will be the first time the UK will experience “any real number” of viruses . At the same time Covid-19.

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She added: “So the risk of catching the two together still remains. And if you do, early evidence suggests you are twice as likely to die from two people together as having covid alone. Is.

“So I think it’s a precarious cold – it’s not a prediction, it’s an uncertain feature – but we know the flu cases have been down in the last year so the immunity and strain types are a little more uncertain.”

The vaccine being introduced this winter season is meant to protect against four different flu strains, said Dr. Harris, “We have a pretty good array of tools in our toolbox to try and hit whichever is most effective.” But it may be more than one year, and people will have less immunity.

“So I think the real trick here is vaccination – in both COVID and flu – but obviously continuing the good hygiene practices that we’ve been practicing through COVID.”

While the average flu season causes about 11,000 deaths a year, modeling from the Academy of Medical Sciences has suggested that immune deficiency due to its suppression in the past year could lead to between 15,000 and 60,000 fatalities from the virus this year. , with a senior government health official warning the upper end of that estimate was a “realistic” possibility.


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