Possibility of 'twindemic' this flu season
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- Local health officials are calling for a possible "twindemic," which is an abnormally high flu season mixed with COVID outbreaks.
Doctors at the University of Virginia Health System talked about both viruses in Friday's weekly health briefing.
Hospital Epidemiologist Dr. Costi Sifri said it's time to get your flu shot and the latest COVID booster because both viruses are expected to be high this season.
Sifri says since social practices have changed over the last year, the flu is expected to pick back up significantly.
And that's on top of COVID, which doctors say is expected to surge because of possible new variants.
Sifri says he doesn't think enough people know about the newest COVID booster.
It's bivalent, which means it targets two variants: the "original" and the BA. 4 and BA. 5 Omicron strains.
Sifri said to help as cases surge, people should get boosted.
"The rates of COVID have eased a bit in recent weeks from the BA. 5 surge we saw most of the summer, but there are early indications now that COVID could be increasing soon," he said. "So now is the time to do it before we see a surge."
Sifri says COVID numbers are low, but that's because a lot of people rely on at-home tests.
Rates for getting COVID boosters are low both nationally and on a state level, but locally, Sifri said, the numbers are higher.