This year’s flu season could be bigger and worse as it combines with Covid to create a dangerous ‘twindemia’, doctors have warned.
There are now concerns that the simultaneous onslaught of flu and Covid could overburden the NHS, which is already struggling to cope with a record backlog.
Figures from the southern hemisphere, which tend to predict what will happen in the UK, indicate a rise in flu two months earlier than normal, mainly driven by under-30s.
It suggests a spike in hospital flu admissions in Britain could start in October, including many children.
Doctors have warned that this year’s flu season could be bigger and worse as it combines with Covid to create a dangerous ‘twindemia’.
One estimate suggests that the flu season could be twice as long as normal.
Sir Peter Horby, professor of emerging infectious diseases at Oxford University, told the Mirror: “It could come earlier and bigger, then you have a ‘twindemic’ with Covid-19 and that could put real pressure on the NHS.” .
In a typical flu season there are between 15,000 and 30,000 hospitalizations due to the virus.
Dr Simon Clarke, associate professor of cellular microbiology at the University of Reading, also said: “We have never had a [flu and Covid] double outbreak so I’m worried this season in the UK could be particularly bad.
“Getting the flu and Covid together is particularly dangerous.
“We have the NHS under huge pressure as it catches up [from the pandemic] so you have a problem there.
The health service waiting list has reached a record 6.8 million in England, with health services often full and ambulances often queuing outside with patients they cannot discharge.
In a typical flu season there are between 15,000 and 30,000 hospitalizations due to the virus
The waiting list for the health service has reached a record 6.8 million in England, with A&Es are often full and ambulances often queue outside with patients they cannot discharge.
It also comes as covid may be on the verge of breaking out again, leading experts said amid signs the virus has already recovered in parts of England.
Official figures released yesterday showed the nation’s outbreak is smaller than it has been for almost a year, with just 705,000 people in England believed to be infected, about one in 75.
It marked a 9% drop from the Office for National Statistics’ previous weekly estimate.
However, while cases have plummeted across the country since mid-July, scientists predict they will inevitably rise again in the coming weeks as people spend more time indoors, students back to classrooms and students back to college.
Covid infections have already started to rise again, up 20% from two weeks ago, with one in 42 people now having the virus, according to the latest figures.
The funeral of Queen Elizabeth II on Monday (19 September) and ceremonial events held over the past week to mark her death prompted suggestions that the massive crowds could fuel the spread of the virus.
However, Professor Hunter said he did not think the events “play a very big role” in the rate hike.
After the platinum jubilee in June, “although cases increased, they increased too soon to be due to the jubilee and probably had more to do with the school holidays and people going abroad than with mass gatherings,” he told MailOnline.
The women’s euro, seen as another source of massive rallying, barely had “any real impact” on rates, he added.
The weekly estimates published by the ONS, which are closely monitored by the government, are considered the most accurate way of tracking the shape of the UK outbreak.
Unlike the number of reported infections, which has been wildly inaccurate since the mass testing scheme was scrapped in April, it does not depend on Britons getting tested and reporting their results.
Cases also fell in Wales (28,200, down 11%) and Northern Ireland (33,700, down 12%), although the ONS was not entirely confident of the overall trend.
However, in Scotland, the prevalence rose to 113,500, up 9% on the previous week.
The figures, which reflect the week ending September 5, are based on swabs from a representative sample that includes thousands of people.
When broken down by region, it showed cases were rising in the South West and Yorkshire (prevalence of 1.5 per cent) and The Humber (1.3 per cent).
Separate NHS England statistics released two days ago also show a sharp rise in the average number of Covid hospital admissions in the South West, compared with the previous week.
Between September 5 and September 12, the region’s admissions rose by almost a fifth (18.9%), from an average of 43 daily to 52.
But overall, an average of 519 people infected with Covid were admitted to hospital with the virus in England in the week to September 12, eight times lower than the levels seen at the peak. Not all of these patients are necessarily sick with the virus.
#years #flu #surge #bigger #earlier #form #twindemia #resurgence #Covid