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Will Spanish Flu Return? Scientist Warns Covid-19 Could Make Seasonal Flu Worse

For representation

For representation

A study said that people infected with both coronavirus and flu were twice as likely to die than people infected with just coronavirus.

As Covid-19 pandemic has been around for over a year, the recent discoveries of new strains of virus from around the world have raised concerns over the fight against the pandemic. Researchers have expressed concerns over the possibility that the current vaccines may be redundant after mutations and how the pandemic will ever see its end.

Some findings have revealed that the coronavirus can be seasonal in nature, and some parts of the world may see the outbreak once a year, a report in Times Now said. The nature of virus has also caused scientists to look for potential pathogens that can cause any future pandemics, like the Spanish flu that killed over 50 million people.

The biggest concern right now is seasonal flu and a future pandemic is likely to come from a flu strain, says Dr McCauley, director of the Worldwide Influenza Centre.

Covid measures like social distancing or regularly washing hands have contributed to one of the lowest flu circulations for more than a century, however, in post-COVID world with reduced immunity and pandemic like COVID-19, the risk of common viruses such as seasonal flu could be much more, Dr McCauley adds.

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A study in the British Medical Journal said that people infected with both coronavirus and flu were twice as likely to die than people infected with just coronavirus.

The 1918 influenza pandemic commonly known as the Spanish Flu had infected around a third of the world’s population. The number of deaths from Spanish Flu was estimated to have been around 50 million, killing more people than World War 1. Dr McCauley warns that we need to be ready for its return.

“Since we’ve seen it (Spanish Flu) before, we could see it again. We still need to remain prepared for this type of scale of event,” McCauley told The Sun.

“Before coronavirus, the next one that was going to come out and get you was going to be the flu. The next one will be flu or another coronavirus. You know that flu can do it, and you now know that coronavirus can do it. So flu hasn’t gone off the list, flu remains on the list, flu remains on the list,” he added.

first published:March 03, 2021, 20:13 IST