The pandemic is over.
Well, at least, it sometimes feels like it is.
Kids are back at school. Offices are trying to get workers back in-house where possible. Facebook photos of friends and family show trips outdoors, group get togethers, and even some trips abroad. Restaurants are open. Movie theatres are open. Malls are open. Emerg visits for non-urgent concerns are back. Gyms are now allowing access to scheduled clients. Although the pandemic has impacted all of the above with new rules and restrictions, life seems more open in general. Especially in Drumheller, where masks are optional and not mandatory in public spaces, like Edmonton or Calgary. It’s easy to forget that beyond the valley, a pandemic still rages.
Of course, this is partly a matter of perspective. You could say it’s still present in Drumheller because kids have to wear masks, gyms require bookings, public places require social distancing, etc. But compared to our friends out East, our numbers remain more reassuring. 146 new cases in Alberta on Sept 16, compared to Quebec’s 303 and Ontario’s 315 on the same day.
But here comes the flu. The seasonal virus that will complicate the presentation and diagnosis of CoVID. That awful virus that makes you feel exhausted, as if you’ve been hit by a ton of bricks. The virus that causes 3500 deaths per year in Canada with a cough crushing you like a corset, combined with a headache, sore throat, stuffy nose, and fever. Oh wait, those symptoms sound like corona.
The media has a new term for the potential disaster: a twindemic. Co-infected patients have been reported in the US, China, Spain, Japan and Germany. It may be rare, but it’s possible. No one can predict what’ll happen but we could see the perfect storm of a bad flu season and increase in CoVID activity. I mean, it is 2020 after all.
Paediatricians are urgently recommending the flu vaccine, saying the coronavirus outbreak makes it more critical than ever for kids to get vaccinated. CDC and WHO are echoing similar warnings, bracing themselves for the worse-case scenario. Alberta recently no longer recommend asymptomatic testing for CoVID to the general population to minimize the impact on resources. We’re about to hear even more about sniffles and stats.
I won’t beat around the bush: getting a flu vaccine is always a good idea. But it’s crucial this year. With coronavirus still looming overhead, why take the chance? We don’t want to risk a double whammy and we don’t want to put pressure on our health-care system. It’s a no brainer, really. It may feel safe and open in our little valley, but coronavirus is far from gone. Run and get that flu shot.