Arizona public health officials are preparing for the flu in a COVID world

By Jerod MacDonald-Evoy | Arizona Mirror

The 2019-20 flu season in Arizona was one of the worst on record/Image via Pixabay

The start of flu season isn’t generally until October, but public health officials are already preparing for a different kind of response and public outreach campaign than in previous years in advance of what the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said could be the “worst fall” in history. 

“We can already see what COVID can do to our hospitals,” Arizona Department of Health Services Director Dr. Cara Christ told Arizona Mirror. “So, our worry is, what can it do to our hospitals if we have another surge and we have the flu on top of it?”

The 2019-20 flu season in Arizona was one of the worst on record, and it started “early and fast,” Christ said. In fact, the last two flu seasons have been particularly bad compared to previous years, data shows. 

The 2017-18 flu season saw more than 35,000 cases, followed by more than 36,000 cases in 2018-19. Both of those shattered the previous high-water mark of 23,000 in the 2015-16 flu season.

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