Today's first story concerns a vaccine and a virus but breaking news, it's not coronavirus,at leastnot all by itself. We're talking about influenza. Flu season in the United States when catching the disease is more likely, is in the fall and winter.
That'saccording tothe Centers for Disease Control which says the peak, the worst part of flu season, is between December and February. The flu vaccine is not the perfect solution. The CDC says when it's a good match for the flu viruses that are actuallygoing around, the vaccine is between 40 and 60 percent effective at keeping people from having to go to the doctor for flu symptoms.
In some years, the vaccine is less effective because it's not a good match and the shot itself can cause side effects like fever, nausea and muscle aches. But health officials say, it's the best way for people to reduce their chances of getting the flu and spreading the flu. In a typical year, about 45 percent of Americans get the vaccine. It's the same in Britain. But you don't need me to tell you this ain't a typical year. And here's where things can get more complicated in 2020.
Initial flu symptoms look a lot like initial coronavirus symptoms. Doctors say you should stay home with either disease but coronavirus is believed to be more dangerous, and only a COVID test can determine whether someone has it or something else. Those test results can take days to get. So experts say the coronavirus and influenza spreadingat the same timewith similar symptoms can have a pretty big impact on the number of work days and school days people miss this fall. Health care workers are also concerned that the two diseases combined could put a greater burden on the healthcare system.