Shon Grimes receives a flu shot from pharmacist Nisha Mathew on Saturday at Bartell Drugs on Broadwayin Everett. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Shon Grimes receives a flu shot from pharmacist Nisha Mathew on Saturday at Bartell Drugs on Broadwayin Everett. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Fall brings concerns of a ‘twindemic’ of flu, COVID

Flu season is here. COVID never left. Officials say it’s time for people to get shots.

EVERETT — We’re back to spreading germs again.

Health concerns are swirling as well.

Will the “twindemic” of flu and COVID-19 that was feared two years ago happen this season?

“You can be unlucky and have both at the same time,” said Dr. Yuan-Po Tu, infectious disease specialist for the Everett Clinic.

COVID and flu cases surged in the Southern Hemisphere, where the seasons are opposite of ours, and winter ended a month ago.

“For the last two seasons, there has been very little influenza in the United States,” Tu said. “The amount of natural immunity to influenza in the community is pretty darn low. That’s why getting vaccinated to boost your immunity is a good thing.”

Flu cases went down because of COVID practices: People stayed home, social distanced, wore masks and incessantly sanitized their hands.

Sarah Sharkey and Shon Grimes wait Saturday to get their COVID booster shots at Bartell Drugs on Broadway in Everett. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Sarah Sharkey and Shon Grimes wait Saturday to get their COVID booster shots at Bartell Drugs on Broadway in Everett. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Things have loosened up and we’re getting back to partying like it’s 2019 … just in time for flu season.

Flu activity tends to start in October and run through spring, typically peaking between December and February.

Health officials advise everyone 6 months and older to get a flu shot. COVID shot protocols vary by age.

Shots are available at most pharmacies and clinics. Those who qualify can get a COVID booster and flu shot on the same day, in different arms.

In the 2021-22 season, there were 21 flu deaths in Washington state. Of these, 18 were people 65 or older, the demographic traditionally hit hard. Three who died were ages 50 to 64. The state had no reported flu deaths in the 2020-21 season.

The senior population also has the highest rate of COVID deaths.

Vaccines decrease the severity of illness and likelihood of hospitalization, Tu said.

Pharmacist Nisha Mathew prepares a Pfizer COVID booster shot Saturday for a patient at Bartell Drugs on Broadway in Everett. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Pharmacist Nisha Mathew prepares a Pfizer COVID booster shot Saturday for a patient at Bartell Drugs on Broadway in Everett. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Home tests are widely available for COVID, but not for flu.

Some symptoms are similar, such as cough, sore throat, body ache, fever and fatigue. Flu tends to have a sharper onset. With COVID, the onset can be gradual and people who are asymptomatic can spread the disease longer. Both infections are spread by droplets when people cough, sneeze, talk or sing.

Treatment medications are different as are death rates.

As of this week, there have been nearly 1.1 million COVID deaths in the United States.

“On an average year, we lose 40-, 50-, 60,000 people to influenza,” Tu said.

Influenza is associated with secondary infections such as pneumonia.

Andrea Brown: 425-339-3443; abrown@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @reporterbrown.

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Local News

Ariel Garcia, 4, was last seen Wednesday morning in an apartment in the 4800 block of Vesper Dr. (Photo provided by Everett Police)
How to donate to the family of Ariel Garcia

Everett police believe the boy’s mother, Janet Garcia, stabbed him repeatedly and left his body in Pierce County.

A ribbon is cut during the Orange Line kick off event at the Lynnwood Transit Center on Saturday, March 30, 2024 in Lynnwood, Washington. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
‘A huge year for transit’: Swift Orange Line begins in Lynnwood

Elected officials, community members celebrate Snohomish County’s newest bus rapid transit line.

Bethany Teed, a certified peer counselor with Sunrise Services and experienced hairstylist, cuts the hair of Eli LeFevre during a resource fair at the Carnegie Resource Center on Wednesday, March 6, 2024, in downtown Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Carnegie center is a one-stop shop for housing, work, health — and hope

The resource center in downtown Everett connects people to more than 50 social service programs.

Everett mall renderings from Brixton Capital. (Photo provided by the City of Everett)
Topgolf at the Everett Mall? Mayor’s hint still unconfirmed

After Cassie Franklin’s annual address, rumors circled about what “top” entertainment tenant could be landing at Everett Mall.

Foamy brown water, emanating a smell similar to sewage, runs along the property line of Lisa Jansson’s home after spilling off from the DTG Enterprises property on Tuesday, March 5, 2024, in Snohomish, Washington. Jansson said the water in the small stream had been flowing clean and clear only a few weeks earlier. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Neighbors of Maltby recycling facility assert polluted runoff, noise

For years, the DTG facility has operated without proper permits. Residents feel a heavy burden as “watchdogs” holding the company accountable.

Rosario Resort and Spa on Orcas Island (Photo provided by Empower Investing)
Orcas Island’s storied Rosario Resort finds a local owner

Founded by an Orcas Island resident, Empower Investing plans” dramatic renovations” to restore the historic resort.

A possible development site for Snohomish Garden Townhomes at 9321 Paradise Lake Road on Friday, April 5, 2024 in Snohomish, Washington. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Neighbors’ effort falls short of stopping 196 townhomes near Maltby

Nearby residents said the proposed development would make traffic much worse along Highway 522 — among other concerns.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Stanwood in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Stanwood man gets federal prison for selling fentanyl on dark web

In 2013, Christerfer Frick was sentenced to nine years for trafficking drugs. He began selling online upon his release in 2020.

Traffic idles while waiting for the lights to change along 33rd Avenue West on Tuesday, April 2, 2024 in Lynnwood, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Lynnwood seeks solutions to Costco traffic boondoggle

Let’s take a look at the troublesome intersection of 33rd Avenue W and 30th Place W, as Lynnwood weighs options for better traffic flow.

Dan Templeman speaks during a forum lead by The Daily Herald on housing affordability at the Mukilteo Library on Thursday, April 11, 2024 in Mukilteo, Washington. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
At Herald forum, experts affirm Housing First model, despite downsides

At the Mukilteo Library, panelists discussed drug-contaminated housing and lengthy cleanup efforts in Snohomish County.

Molbak's Garden + Home in Woodinville, Washington closed on Jan. 28 2024. (Photo courtesy of Molbak's)
Molbak’s, former Woodinville garden store, hopes for a comeback

Molbak’s wants to create a “hub” for retailers and community groups at its former Woodinville store. But first it must raise $2.5 million.

A fire at a home near Alderwood Mall sent one neighbor and one firefighter to the hospital. (Photo provided by South County Fire)
Officials: Residents returned to burning Lynnwood home to rescue dogs

Five people and six dogs were displaced in the Thursday afternoon house fire, according to South County Fire.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.