Dr. Kristin Englund, an infectious disease specialist at the Cleveland Clinic, explained that relaxed COVID-19 precautions could contribute to the growth of respiratory viruses.
“We certainly know that when people are going out nowadays, they’re not wearing masks as much as they used to and not using social distancing or sanitizing. So, we’ve kind of let our guard down here for a while over the summer, but we need to get ourselves back in gear for that, as we’re entering this respiratory virus season,” Englund said.
She explained that over the last couple of years, there’s been a decline in influenza cases due to the precautionary measures taken with COVID-19. Also, because of masks, younger children may not have been exposed to these viruses yet.
Englund said that to prepare for flu season, it’s important for people to know the risks are not just to themselves, but to the children and elderly in their communities.
“You do need protection against both, whether it be from natural immunity from having gotten the infections, but also boosting your immunity by getting vaccines to both of them. So we certainly know that it’s possible to get COVID-19 and influenza at the same time. That’s really the double whammy and that would be devastating,” Englund said.