Without masks hospitals fear combined COVID, flu ‘twindemic’ this winter


DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – In a press conference Thursday morning Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, the director of the Ohio Department of Health, said COVID-19 cases are now 20 times higher than in July and he’s concerned we could see a “twindemic” as flu season nears.

“While we’re not yet at an all time high of cases reported, these numbers are certainly troubling,” Vanderhoff said.

Hospital staff are also experiencing issues with heightened cases.

“The number of cases in the state and region remain very high. The number of daily admissions that we have to the hospital remains very high,” said Dr. Jeffrey Weinstein, the patient safety officer at Kettering Health.

With flu season creeping in, many fear that hospitals might become overwhelmed. “Last year as we headed into fall and winter, everyone was just about wearing a mask. There was a state and county mandate. We had all kinds of social distancing and mandates. Now, everyone has lost a taste for doing that at this point,” Weinstein said.

Weinstein says without a statewide mask mandate in Ohio, this could mean more flu cases this season. “It’s likely to rear its head. Last year we almost had zero influenza, which is almost the first time that’s ever occurred. I expect it’s going to roar back this year, and it may be a strain we don’t have a lot of immunity to.”

This is why both Weinstein and Vanderhoff are pleading with Ohioans to get both their flu and COVID vaccinations before the season is in full swing.

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