After pandemic, it’s now twindemic

Chennai: Warning about the potential of ‘twindemic’ this winter, Chinese health authorities have stressed the need for influenza prevention as flu activity in the southern provinces in the country has increased since September.

China’s National Health Commission has warned of a potential twindemic this winter and it stresses influenza prevention as flu activity in the southern provinces has increased since September with the flu season approaching and the remaining high risk of imported Covid-19 infections, Global Times reported.

Autumn and winter are the two seasons with a high incidence of respiratory infections such as influenza. The health commission released a notification to strengthen influenza prevention and control measures during the flu season which is combined with the risk of imported Covid-19 cases of new variants that will bring more uncertainties this winter.

Experts believe that a combination of social distancing, wearing masks, travel restrictions, hand washing, remote work, and shuttered schools played key roles in dramatically reducing the number of flu cases during the 2020-21 season. Last year there were only a little over 2,000 lab-confirmed cases in the U.S., compared to the 200,000 that occur during a typical flu season. Flu-related hospitalizations in 2020-21 were also the lowest ever recorded.

Chinese health authorities stated that influenza activity in the southern and northern parts of the country since March has been higher than the same period last year.

Ahead of the winter season, the Chinese authorities have called for strengthening monitoring and early warning mechanisms, immunizing key groups, promoting multi-disease prevention, standardizing epidemic treatment and extensive publicity and mobilization.

China Meteorological Administration on Friday issued the first ‘blue alert’ of a cold spell that brought sudden temperature drops to vast areas across the country in East China, Central China, and Northeast China over the weekend.


NT Bureau