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Health care providers fear coronavirus coinciding with flu season

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A News4Jax camera on Friday night captured a busy Jacksonville Beach bar with lots of people inside. Most were not wearing masks, and many were not social distancing.

It’s a scene that makes health care officials cringe -- knowing we’re in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic and flu season is just months away.

“In certain years, influenza kills lots of people, so COVID-19 may be similar to the flu. They’re both ornate viruses. But the flu is nasty. It’s different than a common cold,” said Dr. Michael Koran, a COVID-19 researcher. “I don’t think people understand -- they throw out the word ‘flu’ like it’s no big deal. I’ve seen many people die from the flu.”

That’s why health care workers on the frontline are urging people to take the pandemic seriously by wearing masks when they can’t socially distance and washing their hands, especially now that scientists believe there could be a second wave of the coronavirus during the upcoming flu season.

“It’s a huge concern. It’s a very large concern if we are fighting two different viruses because the testing has to be for each one individually, and then the treatments are a bit different,” Koran said.

Tawanda Washington, with the Florida Department of Health in Duval County, also pointed out that symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to the flu.

“So what we don’t want is for people to assume they have the flu and not get care,” said Tawanda Washington, with the Florida Department of Health in Duval County.

It’s worth mentioning that even if you get a flu shot, that vaccination will not protect you from COVID-19.


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