MIAMI – As we’ve learned with the coronavirus, new variants are unpredictable and can pop up at any time. But the flu on the other hand isn’t usually something we’re dealing with this time of year. Doctors say summertime cases in both viruses are surging.
“I went and got tested for the flu and it was negative, so now I’m testing to make sure it’s not COVID,” said Jacel Delgadiloo, who was in line at Tropical Park Monday to get tested.
So, is it COVID-19? The flu? A combo of the two coined by many as “flurona?”
“We’re seeing in some cases that you actually have both viruses at the same time,” said Lilian Abbo, associate chief medical officer of infectious diseases at Jackson Health System.
Abbo said we typically don’t see influenza in June, but summer cases are going up.
“A lot of people are getting the flu even though it’s not flu season,” said Delgadiloo, who know several people with the flu and COVID.
“I think we had a lower rate of vaccination this year. Probably people were more focused on COVID then getting their flu shot,” Abbo explained.
In many places, borders are now wide open, no longer requiring proof of a negative COVID test.
“When international travel picks up, we will see an increase in testing. The two very much go hand in hand,” said Ron Goncalves, general manager of Nomi Health in Florida.
Abbo adds, “I think we’re probably importing cases from other parts of the world. And our immune systems weren’t really used to seeing these viruses for a few years so now we’re transmitting more and we’re more prone to getting infected.”
Doctors say washing your hands, eating healthy and exercising have a direct impact on your immune system and your body’s ability to fight off viruses.
The county’s 32 testing sites are seeing longer lines and more demand. Tropical Park is still operating 24/7, testing nearly 12,000 people a day.
“Between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. are where we see the bulk of the testing activity. We do still see demand in the overnight hours,” said Goncalves.
At Tropical Park and other county-run sites, they’re only testing for COVID-19. However, if you go to an emergency room or urgent care location, they have the ability to test you for both viruses at the same time.