Onondaga County has witnessed a sharp rise in the cases of flu in the area, where already the fear of COVID-19 has not totally vanished. The Public Health Officials are worried about the existence of the two, side by side.
The county has already seen over 182 people being diagnosed with the flu since early October, which was a manifold more than any other county in the state.
“Having over 100 cases of flu already in November is alarming, especially when you look at the rest of the state,” said Chris Morley, chair of Public Health and Preventive Medicine at Upstate Medical University.
He also cautioned that “The main issue that concerns us is that it’s a bellwether for human activity related to viral control, whether it’s Covid-19 or flu.”
The experts believe that it is largely due to a casual attitude towards responsible social distancing. People have given up on mask protocols; large-scale gatherings are also being frequently being organized.
“The direction of our current COVID-19 numbers and the co-occurrence of a flu outbreak are sorts of twin indicators that people are dropping cautionary behavior pretty rapidly,” Morley said.
After the Outbreak at Syracuse University, things have gone downhill in the county. The reported Flu rate per 100,000 residents was over 7 times higher than the average in the state, as per details listed on the website of the Health Department.
A return to a pre-pandemic lifestyle would not be the ideal situation yet. As there is the likelihood of the flu to spread again, said Dr. Indu Gupta, Onondaga County health commissioner.
“People are congregating, they are going to concerts, they’re going to games, they’re having parties,” the Health Commissioner said.
“When the flu season started to kick in, those habits might have been able to spread the virus more easily.”
The fear of the two coming together around the holiday season, paints a painstaking image for the authorities, as there is little they can do to restrict movement, especially after a series of lockdowns around the rest of the year.
Gupta urged all county residents who are eligible to get the flu and Covid-19 vaccines.