As COVID-19 cases rise, Influenza cases decline

Local News

HARLINGEN, Texas (KVEO) — Across the country, flu activity is at an all-time low.

However, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to surge.

“DNA virus, RNA virus completely different families,” said Dr. Ivan Melendez.

Influenza and the COVID-19 virus have made their way into our lives.

Dr. Melendez is the Hidalgo County Health Authority and says they have one thing in common.

“And that is transmission through the respiratory airways,” he said.

Around this time before the pandemic, hospitals would see patients dealing with influenza during peak flu season.

“Last year there was over 280 cases of influenzas in one week. And this year is 13 cases of influenza in Cameron County this past week. So COVID has taken the place of the flu this year,” said Cameron County Health Authority Dr. James Castillo.

He said COVID-19 measures like wearing masks and social distancing have contributed to the decline in flu cases.

The state health department showing fewer than 2-percent of cases so far.

“All of those precautions that we told how to protect themselves from the flu that we’re using to protect people from COVID they’re working very well to stay away from the flu,” said Dr. Castillo.

There’s a big difference between the flu and COVID.

“Nobody is immune to COVID at the baseline. We have a lot more people who’ve had it now. We have the vaccine coming out versus every year we have the flu vaccine. So, there’s a lot to account for that difference plus it seems COVID is a lot more contagious than the flu,” said Dr. Melendez.

The pandemic is still ravaging communities across the valley and you can still get the flu.

“The infection of coronavirus by our bodies in no way hinders obstructs or blocks the infection of a secondary virus. In fact, we have seen various cases where people are infected with both coronavirus and influenza virus,” Dr. Melendez said.

One thing people can do is continue to wear a mask in public and practice social distancing and frequent hand washing.

Health officials also urge you to get the flu vaccine even though activity is low.

Experts say it’s better to be safe than sorry.

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