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With summer turning to autumn, the local paper of ill repute is warning of a “twindemic”:
The one thing [epidemiologists] fear is the possibility that the flu could spiral out of control this winter and if COVID does the same, doctors could be dealing with a “twindemic.” A twindemic is a situation where there are two pandemics or epidemics going on at the same time, such as the flu and COVID-19.
In such a scenario, the flu could reach historically high levels and along with COVID could swamp hospitals even more so than last year when the flu was kept at bay.
Why might this “twindemic” happen?
With less natural immunity in the community because fewer people were exposed to the flu last season, it’s possible cases of the flu could rebound dramatically this year, [OSU epidemiology professor Bill] Miller said.
“It sort of sets us up for an increase this year,” Miller said. “I think a significant return of influenza this year is a real possibility.”
With the flu season approaching this year, there is no state-mandated COVID mask requirement and distancing rules as there were last year. So unless they’re put back in place in individual communities as they have been in Columbus and several Greater Columbus suburbs, they could allow the flu to run rampant, Miller said.
Catch that? The flu is coming. It could be bad. Nobody has natural immunity this year. We’re not prepared. We’re in for trouble . . . unless, of course, we submit ourselves to the health-and-safety regime:
“So much depends on what happens with COVID and when we say in different parts of the country that it’s back under control,” Miller said. “… It’ll depend on when people let their guard down.”
One possibility, Miller said, is that places with masking and social distancing requirements may see their flu season delayed until COVID again recedes and mask mandates are again eased. For some places that could be February or March, Miller said.
Last year, COVID-related restrictions disrupted the ordinary cycles of disease transmission. This has left us more vulnerable to diseases. RSV surged this summer. The flu might surge this winter. We can delay the inevitable a bit longer, right? What’s six more months after a year-and-a-half of this? We can’t let our guard down now! And we can’t let our guard down in the spring, either. The flu could be even worse then.
The logic is clear: Forever COVID is here. We’ll be wearing masks and attending Zoom “parties” forever.
Unless we decide not to. Unless we choose to return to normal whatever our betters tell us, whatever the diktats say, and whatever the social costs might be.Published in