First combined flu and COVID-19 cases emerge in United States​​

First combined flu and COVID-19 cases emerge in United States​​
U.S. Navy Lt. Gail Evangelista, nurse, assigned to Naval Hospital Rota, Spain, dons a facemask prior to interacting with a patient at the Michaud Expeditionary Medical Facility (EMF) at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, April 16, 2020. Evangelista is part of a four-member team sent by Naval Forces Africa to augment critical positions within the EMF during the COVID-19 pandemic, enabling existing EMF staff to execute their primary mission of treating trauma patients. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Dylan Murakami)
‘All you want is to be believed’: The impacts of unconscious bias in health care

As the United States faces the beginning of flu season, combined cases of influenza and coronavirus are being reported in multiple states.

It has been reported that combined cases of both respiratory illnesses have been reported in California and Texas, reports the Sac Bee.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Solano County health officer Dr. Bela Matyas has shared details about the combined diagnosis of a California patient suffering from both illnesses. Matyas has revealed that the patient is a 65-year-old healthcare professional with no underlying conditions. She also explained how the combined illness could have long-term impacts on a person's immune system and, subsequently, make patients more vulnerable to other diseases.

"We now have flu in our community at the same time we have COVID," said Matyas. "Contracting either disease may weaken your immune system and make you more susceptible to the other disease."

Matyas added, "Symptoms of the flu can be like early symptoms of COVID-19, meaning people with flu symptoms may require a COVID-19 test and need to stay home from work and isolate while awaiting their results."

In Tennessee, a patient at Maury Regional Medical Center has also been diagnosed with a combination of the two illnesses. Dr. Martin Chaney, a chief medical officer at the hospital, explained the respiratory illness.

"When you get influenza, which is a respiratory illness and you get COVID, which also impacts the respiratory tract, it only makes sense that those individuals are going to have a serious respiratory component with shortness of breath, potential for respiratory failure is very high in co-infection," Chaney explained.

Not only are medical experts expressing concern about the severity of blistering flu season but they are also urging Americans to take the flu vaccine as they stress the importance of doing it now more than ever. Dr. Mia Taormina, an infectious disease specialist with DuPage Medical Group, issued a warning to the public, according to The Chicago Tribune.

"If you have ever received a flu vaccine in your life, this is the year to do it," Taormina said. "We are very concerned about the possibility of co-infection with influenza and COVID."

As of Friday, October 30, the United States has surpassed 9 million coronavirus cases. This week, the country reported its highest number of cases reported in a single day topping more than 90,000 confirmed cases.

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