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Contracting flu and COVID-19 simultaneously increases the risk of death, new study shows

Published on 23/09/20 at 12:18pm
Photo by Whoisjohngalt

Public Health England has warned that catching seasonal flu and coronavirus at the same time could almost double the risk of death. 

This is according to a study which analysed data in almost 20,000 people who were tested for both COVID-19 and flu in the UK from 20 January to 25 April. This means that most people in the study were seriously ill with coronavirus as testing was limited to just hospitals in the early months of the pandemic. 

58 people were identified as having contracted both the illnesses. Overall, 43% of people with both flu and coronavirus died compared to 27% of those who tested positive for the virus alone. For patients in the study who just had the flu, 4.8% died. The risk for people with both the illnesses was 5.92 greater compared to the general population. 

Professor Yvonne Doyle, the Medical Director at Public Health England, said: “If you get both, you are in some serious trouble. The people who are most likely to get both of these infections may be the very people who can least afford to in terms of their own immune system or their risk for serious outcomes. Please protect yourself against the flu this year.”

Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, the Deputy Chief Medical Officer for England, said there have also been studies in mice infected with the flu and coronavirus which have shown the increasing chance of death.

Conor Kavanagh

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