Nebraska doctors fear the flu will make a comeback

Health experts have feared a “twindemic” since the pandemic began.
The flu seemed to nearly disappear over the past two years as COVID took over but doctors say the flu is poised to make a comeback.
Published: Sep. 26, 2022 at 4:43 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - For two years, the flu seemed to nearly disappear as COVID raged around the world.

This season influenza seems well-staged to make a comeback, especially as the demand for vaccinations has taken a dip.

Health experts have feared a “twindemic” since the pandemic began: A surge in COVID and the flu at the same time. But doctors say precautions like masks and social distancing helped keep both viruses at bay.

Now, as most safeguards are gone and public discord over vaccinations appears to grow, doctors fear the flu could take center stage.

“Influenza is kind of lurking in the background,” said Dr. Mark Rupp, Professor and Chief of Infectious Diseases with Nebraska Medical Center. “It is going to come back at some point and exert itself.”

Rupp adds vaccination hesitancy could make the season worse.

“I do have concerns that some of the anti-vaccination sentiment that we’ve seen somewhat politicized due to COVID will spill over into influenza vaccination. That would be unfortunate, and I hope that doesn’t occur.”

Rupp says your best line of defense is to try to prevent both viruses.

“So, get a flu shot and get a COVID booster and try to prevent both of these potentially serious respiratory viral infections from occurring in you and your family.”

Ruth Piatt of Omaha plans to do just that.

“I have a 2-year-old great-granddaughter that I have in my home, and I take care of. And I am worried about her,” Piatt said.

Doctors say the best time to get both vaccinations is in early fall.