Healthcare professionals say the flu is surging through Iowa at an alarming rate. This heightened rate of influenza virus across the state accompanies the already existent COVID-19 health crisis — suggesting a real possibility for a ‘twindemic.’
“Two weeks ago we had one case. Last week between Tuesday and Saturday we diagnosed through our clinics and lab over 150 cases of influenza,” said Theresa Brennan, chief medical officer for the University of Iowa Health Care System.
Last year, the community evaded influenza outbreaks throughout what is traditionally labeled flu season. Public health officials attribute this minimized spread of the flu to increased public health literacy — communities masking up and socially distancing.
Despite ongoing COVID-19 safety protocol, health experts note a decrease in mask-usage and other safety precautions. Representatives from the University of Iowa Health Care System worry the evident flu surge could exhaust already-strained healthcare workers and medical resources.
“Our healthcare system is already strained our workers have been doing this for two years now,” she said.
The flu and COVID-19 are different viruses, but can induce similar symptoms, making it increasingly difficult to tell the difference between the two. Experts say both viruses can be prevented with vaccination.