By Kelsey Kushner

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The coronavirus is threatening the world with the deadly virus, but doctors in Maryland said the biggest threat to the state is the flu.

Five more people have died in the state, according to the Maryland Health Department, and many people are making sure they’re protected.

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“I get my flu shot every year.” said Baltimore resident Alethea Smith.

The total number of flu deaths in the state is now at 20 people, including 17 adults and three people under the age of 18.

“I think anybody who dies from any kind of disease when there’s an actual vaccine is a tragic situation.” said Baltimore resident Kelly Burke.

Right now, there are more than 20,000 people sick across Maryland, and health experts said they are trying to keep up with the number of patients.

“We have seen a lot more hospitalized patients than we have last year, and a lot more coming through the emergency departments.” said Shawn Mueller, multi-site director of infection prevention at Good Samaritan Hospital.

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It’s a widespread issue across the nation.

Mueller said the most vulnerable are children and the elderly. She said the best way to protect yourself is to get the flu shot.

“You are protecting your community by receiving your flu vaccine because there are many of us who can’t so those who can need to protect the fragile ones who can’t.” Mueller said.

The CDC said most of the country shows that flu activity is high, including states like Maryland and Pennsylvania. They said most cases tend to be Influenza B- which has a more severe impact on kids.

Mueller said symptoms of the flu include body aches, sore throat, fever and cough. If you think you have it- it’s best to stay inside to keep the germs from spreading.

“You also need to cover your cough, no more sneezing or coughing into your hands if you do do that, make sure you wash your hands with soap or hand sanitizer after.” Mueller said.

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Health experts said it’s never too late to get the flu shot, they also said monitor symptoms if they go on for too long or are too harsh- then it’s time to go to the doctor.

Kelsey Kushner