North Carolina Health Officials notice more flu activity than at any time since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020. An epidemiologist at UNC-Chapel Hill’s Gillings School of Global Public Health said it is easy to forget because everyone focused on COVID.
So far, one person has died of the flu in North Carolina this year, an adult in the western part of the state. That person tested positive for flu but negative for COVID-19, the DHHS said in announcing the death. Other information about the person such as name, hometown, county, gender, or age is not released, a state policy to protect the deceased’s privacy.
This first fatality in North Carolina will hopefully be a wake-up call to people to get vaccinated if they haven’t already. In an average year, North Carolina loses almost 300 people to the flu. In contrast, since March 2020, COVID-19 has claimed more than 19,000 lives in the state.Flu infections are most common from late fall to early spring, with activity usually peaking in January or February. With flu cases increasing and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it is more important than ever for people to get a flu vaccine this year, as well as a COVID-19 vaccination or booster if they have not already done so.
Health experts said people could receive a flu shot and COVID-19 vaccine simultaneously. People who can stay indoors during a pandemic which is a massive help to health care workers. The CDC recommends flu vaccination every year for everyone 6 months and older. Vaccination is the best way to prevent infection and can make illness milder for those who do catch it.