HONOLULU (KHON2) — An epidemiologist told KHON2 that dual COVID and flu infections could become more common due to the easing of pandemic restrictions.
Respiratory viruses have a lot more options for infection without masks and social distancing rules.
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“Now we are seeing it a bit more as, you know, as the cluster report that you sent over indicated to. I mean, it can happen and it does happen,” said Waianae Coast Comprehensive Health Center Infection Control & Employee Health director Jacob Schafer. “It’s certainly something to be concerned about because we are, of course seeing this very large increase in COVID cases as well at the same time.”
According to the latest DOH cluster report, six out of 300 attendees at one Oahu high school prom tested positive for COVID in April 2022. Four tested positive for the flu and one tested positive for both COVID and the flu. Officials said mask use and social distancing were not practiced or enforced.
Schafer said, the lack of guidelines means more opportunities for community spread.
“Wearing a mask, staying home when you’re sick, not gathering in large crowds, but as we’ve seen with the lifting of COVID restrictions, flu has come back,” Schafer said.
One mother told KHON2 that she was a little concerned about dual infections, but is up to date on her flu shots and continues to take precautions.
“It’s hard to kind of separate what COVID and the flu is anymore, so I guess we got to, to me, I continue to wear a mask where I go, unless we’re out on the beach,” Violet said.
Another agreed and said she was happy that classrooms still have guidelines.
“They do temperature checks, they notify us if any other child that is sick, if there is a child that is sick or infected with anything, they let us know,” said Sheila Cadiz.
Hawaii’s flu season typically ends in April, but experts still recommend going out and getting the shot.
Providers and pharmacies with flu shot supply can still be found by clicking this link.
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“So it really is late in the game to get your flu shot, but if you don’t have one and it’s available, we would recommend getting a flu shot,” Schafer said.