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A winter wave of the coronavirus could be worse – here's why

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Posted at 2:14 PM, Apr 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-22 17:46:25-04

(WXYZ) — 66,000 Americans are now estimated to die by August from COVID-19. While the projected death toll has risen by 10%, health officials are warning that a deadlier wave is possible this coming winter.

There’s a couple of reasons for that.

The number changes as data is updated in the main model that’s used to predict the future number of American deaths. So when we have higher death rates across the US, the estimated number will go up. And some of the State death tolls have increased because nursing home residents are now being counted as presumptive positives. And on top of that, we’re expecting an uptick in numbers as some states prepare to ease restrictions, allowing some businesses to open back up starting as early as this Friday.

The bottom line, if folks don’t take the proper precautions, then this opportunistic virus will easily spread.

Why is deadlier wave is possible this winter?

That ominous forecast comes from the director of the CDC. Robert Redfield is warning that come fall and winter, we’ll still likely be dealing with the coronavirus epidemic and then the flu season will start back up. Having both of these at the same time could be a recipe for disaster. Because both affect the respiratory system.

We’ve already seen how hospitals have struggled with not having enough tests, ventilators and respirators for patients, as well as not enough protective gear for health care workers. So if these issues are not properly addressed, then our hospitals and our health care system could become overwhelmed. And that will directly affect patient care.

Getting a flu shot would be very helpful right?

A flu shot is very important. It won’t protect you against the coronavirus, but it can help protect you against the flu. So I highly recommend you get the flu shot before the influenza season kicks off. And that will help keep hospital beds open for the folks who do get infected with the virus and need medical help.

Of course, we’ll still need to practice prevention techniques like washing hands, disinfecting, covering coughs and sneezes. We may still have social distancing guidelines to follow as well. Because we are in uncharted territory and that’s why it’s so important that we all work together. That’s the best route for us to take to overcome this virus.

Additional Coronavirus information and resources:

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See complete coverage on our Coronavirus Continuing Coverage page.