In the latest coronavirus news, health officials are worried about the increasing cases in a few states as the country approaches the flu season. Read on to learn all about it.
In This Article:
Coronavirus News: Alarming Number of Cases, Flu Season, and the Race for a Vaccine
Worrying Levels of New Infections
The new coronavirus cases’ overall daily average is going down in the United States, but some states have a weekly increase of at least 5%. These states include Alaska, New Jersey, and Wisconsin.
CNBC reports that the United States still had an average of about 34,000 new daily cases in early September. This is an improvement from a few weeks ago, where the US was averaging about 70,000 new cases each day.
Even with the improvement, though, health officials still consider the daily average alarmingly high. They believe that the trend could change for the worse as the country braces itself for the upcoming flu season.
Complications of the Flu Season
Like every other year, the flu becomes more problematic as the country transitions into the fall and winter seasons. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that influenza activity usually ramps up in October and peaks anytime between December and February.
Apart from influenza (or the flu), several other respiratory viruses usually circulate during the flu season. This includes the rhinovirus (or the common cold) and the respiratory syncytial virus (or RSV).
With the flu season in mind, health officials believe that the average number of daily new cases is still unacceptable. They believe that the pandemic could get worse as the temperature drops, and people have more indoor gatherings.
On top of that, the flu season may also cause diagnostic complications. The coronavirus and influenza are both contagious respiratory illnesses.
They share similar symptoms, which may make them difficult to distinguish at the early stages. Ruling out COVID-19 in patients with respiratory symptoms may cause a further pileup in already strained hospitals and clinics.
Race for COVID-19 Vaccine
At this rate, health experts believe that a safe vaccine is a key to returning to a semblance of the old normal. Unfortunately, there are no vaccines approved for full use yet.
Pfizer is one of the COVID-19 vaccine frontrunners. They’re currently in a combination of phases 2 and 3 of vaccine development.
In vaccine development, Phase 2 is the expanded trial phase. This phase involves testing the vaccine’s effects on hundreds of people.
Phase 3 is the efficacy trial phase. This phase involves testing the vaccine’s effects on thousands of people. In this phase, the developers administer a vaccine and a placebo.
After some time, they compare the number of infections between the vaccinated group and the placebo group. According to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), a coronavirus vaccine is considered effective if it can protect at least 50% of vaccinated participants.
Pfizer is on its way to engage over 40,000 participants to test their vaccine. Pfizer’s CEO said that they would have the data they need to determine their vaccine efficacy by the end of October.
Sticking to Fundamental Health Measures
As the country waits for more information about the vaccine, medical experts urge the public to continue the basics of disease control. Here are some critical COVID-19 precautions to keep in mind:
- Mask up – Wear a mask that covers your mouth and nose when you’re out and about in public. This is especially important when it’s difficult to maintain social distance. The coronavirus is usually transmitted through respiratory droplets, and a mask can help prevent transmission.
- Wash your hands – Wash your hands with soap and water. If you don’t have access to clean water, you can also use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. This can help kill any virus on your hands.
- Practice respiratory hygiene – Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze. You can use your inner elbow or a tissue. Make sure to dispose of the tissue and wash your hands right away.
- Avoid touching your mouth, nose, and eyes – If you have the virus on your hands, it can enter your body through your mouth, nose, or eyes.
- Maintain social distance – Try to stay at least 6-feet apart from people you don’t live with or people who are sick. Remember, asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic individuals can still spread the virus.
Apart from these, it’s also essential to monitor your health. If you start experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, it’s important to consult a doctor right away.
The World Health Organization recommends calling in advance before traveling to a medical facility. That way, your doctor will know to expect you, and you’ll know exactly where to go.
This can help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Another option is consulting a doctor via telemedicine. With telemedicine services like StreamMD, you can talk to a doctor and get screened for COVID-19 without leaving your home.
How are you preparing yourself for the flu season? Please share your tips with us in the comments section below.