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Influenza in the COVID-19 Era

JAMA. Published online August 14, 2020. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.14661


The annual influenza epidemic substantially affects health care systems worldwide and has resulted in an estimated 12 000 to 61 000 deaths annually since 2010 just in the US.1 The extent of the morbidity and mortality in any given year reflects the degree of genetic drift or shift in the dominant strain of the influenza virus and the efficacy and coverage of vaccination. With the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, clinicians face a second respiratory virus associated with morbidity and mortality several-fold higher than that of influenza, in part due to its spread in an immunologically naive population. A looming threat of concurrent influenza and COVID-19 epidemics is a major concern for public health officials and clinicians.


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