Health experts warn second wave of COVID-19 could be worse

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According to the Washington Post, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said a second coronavirus outbreak could come in the fall and winter and coincide with flu season which starts in October.

Richmond and Henrico Health Director Dr. Danny Avula told 8News social distancing and proper hygiene will be paramount to ensure safety.

“Even when we start to open back up as an economy, we’re not gonna just overnight start acting like we used to,” Dr. Avula said. “I think there will still be precautions we’re all having to take until we have effective vaccines and effective treatments against COVID-19.”

Dr. Avula says both viruses circulating at the same time could potentially overwhelm hospitals.

“If our hospitals are so full of patients who are being treated for COVID-19 or the flu that other people who may suffer from a heart attack or complications of a diabetic illness, as an example, those individuals may suffer because there’s not enough bed space,” Dr. Avula suggested.

In Virginia, 1,533 people have died during the 2019-2020 flu season thus far. The number is staggering when compared to the 364 people who have died from COVID-19.

“The public health framing when COVID-19 first came on board was that we should be much more concerned about the flu because the flu causes many more deaths than we think COVID-19 might,” Dr. Avula said. “I think pretty quickly into the pandemic, we realized not only does COVID-19 seem to be much more contagious, but it also seems to have a much higher fatality rate.”

He adds it will be more important than ever to get the flu vaccine this year.

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