Experts: Be prepared for high incidences of COVID-19 and influenza

Updated: Oct 27, 2021 Print
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Influenza morbidity in the country has been rising since March, and society needs to be prepared for the possible scenario of high incidences of COVID-19 and influenza in autumn and winter, medical experts said at a media interview in Shanghai on Oct 24, ahead of World Flu Day which falls on Nov 1.

Last year, influenza morbidity decreased by nearly 70 percent year-on-year, according to the National Health Commission, and experts believe this was the result of public health control measures such as wearing masks and social distancing which came about because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"This year, influenza morbidity went up, according to the Chinese National Influenza Center figures, but was still lower than the 2019 level and was under control," said Yu Guangjun, president of the Children's Hospital of Shanghai.

"I believe the rise was due to the fact that individuals paid less attention to personal hygiene habits and social activities rebounded when the COVID-19 pandemic situation stabilized," he added.

Experts also reminded the public to get vaccinated against influenza as the period spanning October to March is when flu viruses are the most active.

"In addition to vaccines, there are also various preventive and therapeutic drugs for flu. The public needs to distinguish between flu and catching a cold," said Zhang Ting, director of the infectious diseases and gastroenterology department at the Children's Hospital of Shanghai.

In April, an innovative influenza therapy by Swiss pharmaceutical company Roche received approval from the Chinese authorities for use on flu patients aged 12 and above.

World Health Organization data shows that influenza affects 5 to 10 percent of adults and 20 to 30 percent of children each year, causing 5 million severe cases and more than 600,000 deaths.

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