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Experts warn of overlapping flu and spread of COVID-19

Experts warn of overlapping flu and spread of COVID-19

Health experts have called for increased virus monitoring and vaccination rates to prevent the possible simultaneous spread of influenza and COVID-19 this winter.

A girl receives a vaccine against Covid-19 at a clinic in Qinghai Province. (archive photo via Xinhua)

Gao Fu, a member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said that since June, Europe is experiencing a new round of bird flu epidemic, and the United States has also reported an unprecedented outbreak of H5N1 virus in poultry, indicating a high risk of its spread. The virus refers to humans.

“The main challenge for us this winter and next spring will be the simultaneous spread of influenza and COVID-19 infections,” he said at a seminar on Tuesday.

Flu levels in southern China’s provinces have risen rapidly since June, the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention said this week, hitting a record high compared to the same period in the past five years.

“This indicates a higher risk of increased influenza cases in the winter and spring seasons,” the agency said.

Zhang Wenqing, director of the World Health Organization’s Global Influenza Program, says influenza activity has increased dramatically worldwide since the second half of last year, indicating a shift from consistently moderate prevalence since the onset of COVID-19.

You’ll notice particularly drastic changes this winter in the Southern Hemisphere, with some countries reporting higher rates of influenza than they did before the onset of COVID-19.

Efforts should be made to monitor influenza not only seasonally but throughout the year, and strengthen integrated surveillance of the two diseases, Zhang said.


While vaccination coverage against COVID-19 has increased in China, flu vaccination numbers have slowed.

According to Gauden Galea, WHO representative in China, there are an estimated 1 billion cases of influenza worldwide each year and 290,000 to 650,000 deaths associated with respiratory diseases.

The situation has been further complicated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The epidemic is not over yet. There are signs that another global wave of infection has begun. In addition, we should expect a resurgence of influenza as fall and winter approach.”