Here’s what a doctor wants you to know about ‘flurona’

A Jacksonville doctor says you can become severely ill from the double infection

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – It’s being called “flurona” — a combination of the flu and coronavirus all at once.

UF Health Jacksonville pediatrician Dr. Jeff Goldhagen says that if you get both COVID-19 and the flu, you can become severely ill from the double infection.

“Both of them attack the same cells within the lungs and respiratory tract,” Goldhagen said. “The combination of the two of them is anticipated to cause very significant morbidity and mortality.”

Flurona has been detected in the United States, Israel, Brazil, the Philippines and Hungary. This week, a child in Texas was diagnosed with it. The hospital says the child is recovering at home and was not hospitalized.

Goldhagen urges everyone to take this seriously.

“The message is still the same to get vaccinated for the flu and get vaccinated for the coronavirus,” Goldhagen said.

The latest COVID-19 numbers show the surge in omicron cases isn’t slowing.

During the White House COVID-19 Response Team briefing Wednesday, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky confirmed the omicron variant now makes up 95% of infections nationwide.

To tackle this surge, officials plan to double and accelerate orders of Pfizer’s new antiviral pills from 10 million COVID-19 treatments to 20 million treatments.

“These pills can dramatically decrease hospitalizations and deaths and are game changers with the potential to alter the impact of COVID on people and our nation,” said White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Jeff Zients.

In the meantime, health experts urge vaccinations, boosters and wearing masks.

Goldhagen also noted that flu numbers were low the last couple of years because of wearing masks and social distancing. There’s also new research from the University of Pennsylvania that says the current flu vaccine does not match the main strain that’s been circulating. But the flu shot can still prevent severe illness.

About the Author:

This native of the Big Apple joined the News4Jax team in July 2021.