BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Just in time for the start of fall, health officials at Johns Hopkins University are warning the public to be aware of the so-called “twin-demic” of the flu and the coronavirus.

The coronavirus and the flu may meet at a dangerous crossroads this fall. They’re being dubbed the “twin-demic”.

Dr. Andrew Pekosz is Vice-Chair of the Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

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“These are two infections that are very similar in terms of how they present,” he said.

In Maryland alone, hundreds of people ended up in the hospital because of COVID-19. Researchers say when you add influenza to the mix, that could be a recipe for disaster.

“This may put an increased burden on our COVID-19 testing in terms of our infrastructure, which has already been stressed to the limits,” Dr. Pekosz said. “Because of individuals suffering from influenza may think they are infected with COVID-19 and search out tests for COVID-19.”

For some encouraging signs, look abroad. The southern hemisphere emerged from its flu season with low transmission.

But it could be that people were taking the advice of wearing masks, staying at least six feet apart and getting a flu vaccine.

Dr. Daniel Salmon is Professor and Director of the Institute for Vaccine Safety at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

“Now, it’s more important than ever that people get their flu vaccines,” Dr. Salmon said.

For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department’s website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ’s coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.

Ava-joye Burnett

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