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Alabama COVID-19 death rate reaches new high, surpasses flu deaths from 2018

(WPMI) Alabama COVID-19 death rate reaches new high, surpasses flu deaths from 2018
(WPMI) Alabama COVID-19 death rate reaches new high, surpasses flu deaths from 2018

According to CDC and Alabama Department of Public Health data, just under 1,300 people died from the flu in 2018. More than 1,500 people that have died from the coronavirus in just a few months.

“We expect every year to see hospitalizations and deaths related to flu, but flu and coronavirus are very different viruses,” Mobile County Health Department epidemiologist Dr. Rendi Murphree.

While those statistics may put the situation into perspective socially, health officials say the comparison is not useful medically.

“It’s really not a usable comparison, again, outside of the fact that we’re talking about a respiratory droplet spread. We know that these diseases are vastly different, so comparing death rates is really not usable at this point in time,” said ADPH's Dr. Karen Landers.

Dr. Murphree and Dr. Landers said you may see some of the same symptoms between the two viruses.

“On the surface, they’re both viruses. You do cough. You do get a fever. But they are very different, and we need to not make too many comparisons between what happens with COVID and the flu,” Dr. Murphree said.

Dr. Landers said COVID-19 and flu season could possibly overlap, and it’s important everyone take as many precautions as possible.

“This is a very important year for everyone to get the influenza vaccine who is eligible for that vaccine to really help out the healthcare systems as well as yourself,” Dr. Landers said.

Dr. Landers said it's important to get a flu shot as soon as you can. Typically, health care providers will start making those available around September or October. Dr. Landers wants to remind the public it's never too late to get a flu shot.