Wednesday, March 22nd, 2023

the Cleveland Clinic Children’s Center for Pediatric

ACROSS AMERICA — As the omicron coronavirus variant pushes daily COVID-19 cases in the United States to unprecedented highs, here’s yet another word you might find yourself worrying about soon: flurona.

Over the past several weeks, Americans have watched with trepidation as hospitals reached capacity amid staffing shortages, schools closed yet again, and the United States recorded a global record of 1 million COVID-19 cases reported in a single day.

Now, there’s “flurona.”


What the heck is flurona? No, it’s not another strain of the coronavirus. The term might embody something public health officials started sounding the alarm about last winter. Think of it as a math problem:

While it’s unclear why the “flurona” moniker won out over “fluvid,” “coronaflu” or “covidenza” to describe the ailment, here’s one thing we do know for sure: Flurona is in the United States. Is it more dangerous than influenza or COVID-19? Are there ways to prevent it? Here are five questions answered:

What exactly is “flurona?”

First, “flurona” is not a distinct disease or virus — it’s a portmanteau used to describe a person infected with both influenza and the coronavirus.

In February 2020, before the coronavirus was even declared a global pandemic, a man was admitted to a New York City hospital with a severe cough and fever. He later tested positive for influenza and the coronavirus. Weeks later, test results confirmed that he and three family members had contracted both viruses.

Flurona could become a familiar word this winter. Strict lockdown and coronavirus mitigation measures staved off many flu cases in the United States last year. Still, now that many of those measures are lifted, this winter could tell a very different story.

Before the term was coined, cases were reported in Israel, Brazil, the Philippines and Hungary, the Post reported.

Could the prevalence of both viruses increase the likelihood of double infection this winter? Possibly, but it’s too early to tell, Davidovitch told CNN.

“I don’t think this is going to be a common situation, but that’s something to consider,” he said.

What are the symptoms of flurona?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the flu and the coronavirus have similar symptoms, including fever, cough, fatigue, runny nose, sore throat, and muscle and body aches.

The viruses are also transmitted in similar ways, mainly through droplets and aerosols passed on by coughing,

How dangerous is it?

Dr. Frank Esper, a physician at the Cleveland Clinic Children’s Center for Pediatric Infectious Diseases, told USA Today that while he expects to see plenty of flurona infections, he hasn’t seen anything that suggests a double infection makes COVID-19 infections worse.

“Those are two viral pathogens that we actually have medicines for,” Esper told USA Today.

It could, however, become a more significant threat to higher-risk groups.

Being infected with COVID-19 and the flu at the same time could be “catastrophic to your immune system,” Dr. Adrian Burrowes, a physician and assistant professor at the University of Central Florida, told CNN in September.

“I do believe you’re going to see co-infection with flu and coronavirus. And I do believe you’re going to see a higher rate of mortality as a result of that,” Burrowes said at the time.

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