NEW YORK CITY — Let’s get something out of the way — 2020 can just stop.
A new study warns that difficulties from the year-defining coronavirus pandemic could be compounded by the arrival of flu season, which officially kicks off Thursday.
The study — “Preparing for New York State’s Flu Season During a Pandemic” — by the New York State Health Foundation outlines how dual waves of coronavirus and influenza threaten to overburden the state’s health care system.
New York, once the COVID-19 pandemic’s epicenter, now stands in a better position than the rest of the country, the study states.
“However, the potential for a second outbreak in the fall could cause additional loss of life in New York State, as well as further widen long-standing racial and ethnic disparities in health outcomes,” the study states.
This one-two punch of a coronavirus second wave and flu season could make fighting the deadlier pandemic much harder, the study warned.
Large influxes of flu patients showing similar symptoms to COVID-19 could increase the already-significant demand for coronavirus tests, among other potential difficulties, the study states.
And it also threatens to disproportionately impact people of color, according to the study.
“The flu season could further worsen racial and ethnic health disparities—magnified by the COVID-19 pandemic—as people of color in New York State have historically had lower flu vaccination rates,” it states.
The study recommended more flu vaccination locations, greater outreach into diverse communities and efforts to counter misinformation regarding vaccines.