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Winter flu complicates the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic

Professor Salim Abdool Karim

As we have officially entered winter, with lower temperatures and the flu which is common during this time, Professor Salim Abdool Karim, chairperson of the Covid-19 Ministerial Advisory Committee, said flu symptoms were very similar to those of Covid-19 and it was not always easy to differentiate between them.

He spoke on the National Health Insurance Facebook page on how the flu affects our response and how we deal with Covid-19. Karim said a big challenge was that these two viral infections were initially similar. They present in similar ways. Flu is generally more severe, however, Covid, in a small proportion of patients, becomes very severe and then often leads to death.

Professor Salim Abdool Karim

“Our problem is going to be that if we simultaneously have our flu season and our Covid pandemic, we’ll have problems teasing them out. So we’ll have patients who actually have flu coming into our clinics and hospitals to be treated for Covid-19, and in the process they may be exposed to Covid-19 because our hospitals will be so full of Covid-19 patients.

Karim said there would be many such challenges for health authorities to grapple with. “But at the end of the day I think we can safely say that we’ve prepared as much as we can, and we’re in a good position to deal with the clinical burden when it comes, even if it’s co-mingled with flu.

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Source: IOL