Nearly 90,000 new coronavirus infections were reported in the United States on Thursday, a record, as cases surge in every swing state that will be crucial to next week’s presidential election.
The total number of infections reported nationwide since February is virtually guaranteed to reach 9 million on Friday, just 15 days after the tally hit 8 million. At least 228,000 deaths have been linked to the coronavirus.
Here are some significant developments:
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1:48 AM: California health officials identify first case of simultaneous coronavirus and flu infections
A coronavirus patient in Solano County, Calif., has also tested positive for influenza — this flu season’s first known case of “co-infection” in the greater San Francisco Bay area, and possibly the entire United States.
The dual infection prompted health officials to urge residents to get flu shots on Thursday, noting that it takes two weeks for the vaccine to become effective. Solano County health officer Bela Matyas told the San Francisco Chronicle that the patient was a health care worker between the ages of 20 and 65 with no other health conditions, and appears to have recovered.
Little is known about the potential risks of co-infection, since only a small number of cases were documented during last year’s flu season, which coincided with the start of the pandemic. Data presented last week at the annual meeting of the Infectious Diseases Society of America found that people who battled the flu at the same time as the coronavirus did not experience more severe outcomes, but the sample size was limited to 18 people.
A study of 64 patients who were hospitalized with dual flu-coronavirus infections in Wuhan, China last winter produced different results: Scientists found that people who were also infected with the flu took five days longer, on average, to shed covid-19. While their symptoms were not necessarily more severe, coinfection “was a significant risk factor for prolonged hospital stay,” co-author Rui Zeng told the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Generally speaking, public health experts agree that dealing with two viruses at the same time is unlikely to make recovery easier — and they’re worried about what that will mean as flu season ramps and caseloads continue to surge around the United States.
“This is a very clear indication of the potential for this to occur,” Matyas told the Chronicle. “Getting a flu vaccine this year is more important than ever.”
By: Antonia Noori Farzan
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