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How COVID-19 will impact this year’s flu season

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SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – An unavoidable collision is on the healthcare horizon when this year’s flu season meets the coronavirus, according to medical professionals.

Doctors at UCSF are raising awareness regarding the potential impact of a big third wave of COVID-19 and a potential bad year of influenza.

“The impact of influenza on COVID is that if we have people who are far short on their vaccinations, we end up with extra people in the ICUs who will be using healthcare resources, and we may need them for COVID patients,” said UCSF Dr. George Rutherford.

Healthcare professionals anticipate a slightly different set of problems for patients with the flu.

“If we are worried about looking at this primarily through the lens of influenza, you’re going to have problems with confusing diagnosis since they both present the same way. If there is a large surge in COVID, there may not be many available beds for patients with influenza,” Rutherford added.

Doctors say patients who actually do have both COVID and influenza are at higher risk of getting pneumonia that could lead to acute respiratory distress syndrome.

“The flu vaccine is really the way to prevent influenza,” said UCSF professor of medicine Dr. Michael Matthay.

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