How To Prepare For The “Twindemic”
What you need to know:
- A “twindemic” is on the horizon: a coordinated crest in cases of the flu and COVID-19.
- The flu vaccine, social distancing and wearing a mask can help mitigate the spread.
- SurfaceWise2™ stops the spread on surfaces before it starts.
This fall, health experts are warning people to prepare for a “twindemic,” and it’s not cute, like the nickname makes it sound. They’re anticipating a simultaneous surge of two life-threatening respiratory illnesses: COVID-19 and influenza, or the flu. The occurrence of a twindemic would put additional strain on hospitals that are already maxed out trying to deal with COVID-19 cases.
Like many viruses, the flu can be transmitted via surfaces, like tabletops or doorknobs — and it’s on hard surfaces where it lives the longest, surviving for up to 48 hours. About 8% of all Americans contract the flu each year, and the CDC estimates that in 2019, about 35.5 million people were infected.
There’s currently no vaccine for COVID-19, but there is one for the flu, and public health experts are urging the public to get it as soon as possible. The vaccine is about 40% – 60% effective, and immunity takes about two weeks to kick in. According to the CDC, it’s safe for all ages six months and older, and reduces symptoms, even if the person ends up getting a different strain of the flu than the one they were vaccinated for.
Vaccine makers anticipate distributing 98 million flu shots this year, about 15% more than last year. But the tricky part isn’t providing them; it’s figuring out how to get people to take them. In the 2018-19 flu season in the United States, only 45.3% of adults over 18 got the vaccine, with rates for those ages 18 to 50 considerably lower.
For many, the barrier to getting a flu shot this year is simple: they usually get their shot at work or at school, but since many people have been laid off or sent to work/learn from home during the pandemic, they don’t have ready access.
Therefore, it’s up to businesses and individuals to learn the facts and do what’s needed to keep the twindemic at bay.
- Get a flu shot as early as possible. If you usually get your shot at work or at school, reach out to your local healthcare provider to make an appointment. You can even check out your local pharmacy or look online for local flu vaccine clinics held in community centers and churches.
- Maintain social distancing. Not feeling well? Stay at home. Own a business? Implement social distancing markers to keep your customers and staff safe. Beyond getting vaccinated, keeping your distance from others is one of the best ways to preserve the health of the public and avoid spreading a wave of illness.
- Wear a mask. Depending on where you live, you’re likely already used to wearing a mask in public because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Experts say that wearing masks also reduces the risk of transmission of other illnesses.
- Focus on hygiene. Washing your hands frequently and for at least 20 seconds with soap and water, especially when in public, is the best way to keep your hands free of germs and bacteria. It’s also a good idea to carry an alcohol-based hand sanitizer in case you can’t find a place to wash your hands.
- Disinfect your surfaces. Traditional disinfectants, like wipes and sprays, are short-term solutions for protecting public surfaces. SurfaceWise2 is the long-term solution that kills 99.9% of microbes on surfaces for months at a time, including SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) and the flu. It’s what businesses should be using, and what you, as a consumer, should be looking for. Just check for our logo, and you know you’re protected.