(WASHNIGTON, D.C.) — With flu season upon the horizon, health officials are strongly urging flu shots to help keep hospitals from being overwhelmed this fall and winter. Doctors say flu and COVID-19 patients with severe enough symptoms would both require ventilators to stay alive — and with a supply largely already in use, hospitals are worried about a potential shortage.
Hospitals typically reach max capacity at the peak of flu season, however this year has been like no other with the added COVID-19 pandemic that has created packed ICU wards across the nation.
In order to keep hospitals from being overwhelmed, health experts are urging the public to get their flu shot. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is already cautioning of the “worst fall” in public health history since a vaccine to protect against COVID-19 is still in development.
This means this year’s flu shot is the most important in a century, says the CDC. The institution says that if flu shot rates go up by at least five percent, that will prevent 483,000 flu infections.
COVID-19 has infected over 6.5 million Americans and killed close to 195,000 since the first cases were reported in March, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
The CDC estimates the flu infects 9.3 million and 49 million each year in the United States, killing between 24,000 to 62,000 people.