ID News Round-Up: #COVID-19 and #Flu

Read recent news of interest from the world of infectious diseases, with a focus on COVID-19 and preparing for potential co-circulation and co-infection during the 2020-2021 influenza (flu) season:

A Simple Plan to Deal with COVID-19: Free Flu Shots for All: There is an amazingly simple and clever step that the US federal government could take to counter a possible COVID-19 surge this fall and winter: a national crash program for flu shots. So far, the Trump administration has not embarked on such a program. Source: Mother Jones


An Expert’s Take on What the US, UK Did Wrong in COVID-19 Communications—and What Others Did Right: Some governments have been praised for being forthright about being science-driven in the way they’ve communicated about the COVID-19 pandemic. Other countries, most notably the US and the UK, have been hit with criticism for public health messages that are confusing or not based in science. Source: STAT


Another Warning from the 1918 Flu for COVID-19: ‘Survival Does Not Mean That Individuals Fully Recovered’: We may never know the true mortality consequences of 1918 because of incomplete or inaccurate record keeping, issues that also undermine our ability to quantify the impact of COVID-19. There is a cautionary note from the 1918 flu that has resonance in 2020, and it could reinvigorate social-distancing and mask-wearing behavior among those people who are feeling the fatigue of disruption to their daily lives: “While 1918 was deadly, most that contracted the virus survived. But survival does not mean that individuals fully recovered.” Source: MarketWatch


Fact Check: Doctors Aren’t Pushing an ‘Untested’ Seasonal Flu Vaccine for the Coronavirus: As flu season nears, doctors advocate that people receive the seasonal influenza vaccine, which health experts say is more important than usual amid the COVID-19 pandemic. They say having more defenses against the seasonal flu will put less strain on the medical system, which will help the country have more capacity to combat the novel coronavirus. Claims on social media advise against taking the vaccine by incorrectly conflating the flu shot with a potential vaccine for the coronavirus, the latter of which is still in development. Source: USA Today


Opinion: Stop Expecting Life to Go Back to Normal Next Year: Americans will need to take pandemic precautions well into 2021—yes, even after a vaccine arrives. Anthony S. Fauci, MD, warned us that COVID-19 is likely to be hanging over our lives well into 2021. He’s right, of course. We need to accept this reality and take steps to meet it rather than deny his message. Source: The New York Times


The Wrong Year to Skip Your Flu Shot: Two potentially deadly respiratory viruses—the coronavirus and the influenza virus—will test our healthcare system and American common sense this fall. As millions return to school, campus, and work this fall, the 2020-2021 flu season is shaping up to be something of a pandemic pressure test for our nation. Vaccinations, social distancing, and mask-wearing will be the key to containing both flu and COVID-19 and saving countless lives. Source: I AM BIO Podcast Episode 36 (Conversation with NFID Medical Director William Schaffner, MD)


US Public Now Divided Over Whether To Get COVID-19 Vaccine: As efforts to develop and test a COVID-19 vaccine spur debate around the timing and release of a federally approved vaccine, the share of Americans who say they would get vaccinated for the coronavirus has declined sharply since earlier this year. About half of US adults (51%) now say they would definitely or probably get a vaccine to prevent COVID-19 if it were available today; nearly as many (49%) say they definitely or probably would not get vaccinated at this time. Intent to get a COVID-19 vaccine has fallen from 72% in May, a 21 percentage point drop. Source: Pew Resource Center


‘We Need to Catch Up.’ How the US Fell Behind on Child Vaccines: In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, top American pediatricians could see another crisis looming: a swarm of mini-epidemics of childhood diseases returning as families withdrew from regular medical care, including vaccinations. Source: PBS News Hour


COVID-19 Educational Resources:

NFID hosts webinars on infectious disease topics, including COVID-19, many of which offer complimentary accredited continuing medical education (CME). On-demand webinars include:

For more on the importance of routine vaccines during the COVID-19 pandemic, read about the NFID campaign, Keep Up The Rates.

Note: This is a rapidly changing situation. For current information on COVID-19, visit www.coronavirus.gov and www.nfid.org/coronavirus.

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