A second, deadlier coronavirus pandemic could hit the United States this winter at the same time the flu season hits, bringing with it worse results than the current outbreak, the Washington Post reports.
“There’s a possibility that the assault of the virus on our nation next winter will actually be even more difficult than the one we just went through,” CDC Director Robert Redfield said in a story published Tuesday. “And when I’ve said this to others, they kind of put their head back, they don’t understand what I mean.”
No vaccine currently exists to treat coronavirus, making the condition potentially deadly for anyone it infects.
Redfield worries that having both the flu and coronavirus pervading the country at the same time could swamp health care facilities and create a scarcity of medical supplies.
“We’re going to have the flu epidemic and the coronavirus epidemic at the same time,” Redfield said.
This could bring sobering news to some governors who are eager to revive their states’ economies by lifting stay-at-home orders that have kept millions of people from spending money at local businesses. That loss of tax revenue has caused states to feel the economic pinch.
But those governors are facing pressure from residents in their respective states to reopen. Cabin fever-ridden residents in states such as Ohio, Kentucky, Virginia, Utah, North Carolina and Pennsylvania have all gathered publicly in open defiance of current laws to have their states’ stay-at-home orders removed.
Meanwhile, Redfield last week asked state officials to use the next few months planning for the next wave of coronavirus. He promoted the continued use of social distancing, ramped up testing and contact tracing to keep the combat the spread of coronavirus.
Redfield also stressed the importance of getting a flu shot, saying it “may allow there to be a hospital bed available for your mother or grandmother that may get coronavirus.”
This past flu season, which lasted from Oct. 1 to April 4, saw between 410,000 to 740,000 hospitalizations and between 24,000 to 62,000 deaths from the illness, according to the CDC.