Health officials on Monday urged Americans to get a flu shot this year to avoid a twindemic -- flu plus coronavirus -- that would present a double health threat.  The New York Times reported officials worry a widespread flu outbreak would compound problems in handling the coronavirus, which never dissipated during the summer.

In preparation for a possible flu outbreak, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ordered 9.3 million flu shot doses, up from its mor typical order of 500,000 doses that go to uninsured adults, the Times said.

“The worst-case scenario is we have a very active flu season that overlaps with the respiratory infection of COVID-19. Worst-case because that would really complicate matters from a diagnostic standpoint, from a therapeutic standpoint, and the standpoint of putting a lot of stress on the healthcare system,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told Cardiology Magazine.

The CDC’s estimates indicate there typically are 39 million to 56 million cases of the flu each year, with as many as 740,000 hospitalizations and 24,000 to 62,000 flu-related deaths.

Meanwhile, across the country, several colleges are grappling with figuring out how to have a safe school year amid the coronavirus pandemic. Despite efforts, students are making it difficult for university officials by partying sans masks and social distancing.

Videos have cropped up on social media of college parties. At the University of North Georgia, executive director of communications Sylvia Carson told CNN the school is "disappointed that many of our students chose to ignore COVID-19 public health guidance by congregating in a large group without social distancing or face coverings.

“The University of North Georgia continues to emphasize to our students and university community that everyone has an individual responsibility both on and off campus to follow guidance from the Georgia Department of Public Health and the CDC to prevent the spread of the virus."

Other universities are seeing similar behavior. Tuscaloosa Mayor Water Maddox pleaded with University of Alabama students in a Twitter post: “Why? We are desperately trying to protect @tuscaloosacity,” after a photo was posted on social media of a crowd of young people.

The urgency from officials follows numerous cluster cases that were reported at colleges such as Oklahoma State University and the University of North Carolina.

In New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said gyms would be allowed to reopen starting on Aug. 24, with a series of restrictions. Gyms have been closed in the state for the last five months amid the pandemic.

To reopen, gyms will need to limit their capacity to 33% and require face masks. They will also need to follow health and safety guidelines and will require an inspection prior to reopening.

New York, once the epicenter of the coronavirus, has successfully flattened the curve of the virus, reporting a 1% average positivity rate across the state. New York had more than 425,500 positive coronavirus cases and COVID-19 deaths topped 32,800, Johns Hopkins University tracking data indicated.

In other coronavirus news:

  • MyPillow creator Mike Lindell told CNN after a meeting over the use of oleandrin as a therapeutic to treat COVID-19, President Trump was “enthusiastic.” When pressed about oleandrin, Trump told reporters on Monday theadministration would “look at it, we'll look at it, we're looking at a lot of different things.” Lindell, who sits on the board at Phoenix Biotechnology, the makers of oleandrin, told CNN he wants to get the plant extract out “to the public so bad and I want to get it out there to help people.” Oleandrin has not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as a treatment for COVID-19.
  • As the demand for pizza grows during the pandemic, pepperoni is undergoing a shortage as more pork producers move away from producing the labor-intensive dry cured sausage, Bloomberg reported. The popular pizza topping’s price has also nearly doubled for some pizza parlors that are looking to keep the ingredient on their menus without raising prices for customers.
  • The Canadian Football League announced on Monday it was canceling its 2020 season, saying it was in the “best long-term interests” of the league. This is the first time since 1919 that the Grey Cup would not be awarded to a team. The league, which is primarily dependent on ticket sales and concessions, did not secure a $22 million loan from the government needed to continue the season, The Washington Post reported. In a statement, CFL Commissioner Randy Ambrosie said, “We are absolutely committed to 2021, to the future of our league and the pursuit of our vision of a bigger, stronger, more global CFL.”
  • The Wuhan Maya Beach Water Park in the city of Wuhan, China, was packed with partygoers during the weekend. Wuhan is where the coronavirus first emerged late last year. The party was capped at 50% capacity as China looks to gain a sense of normalcy amid the pandemic. China has reported more than 89,400 positive cases of the coronavirus, with more than 4,700 COVID-19 deaths, Johns Hopkins data indicates.
  • Both Italy and Spain are temporarily shutting down their nightclubs as they look to prevent the spread of the coronavirus among young people. Spanish Health Minister Salvador Illa said the closures would take effect this week while Italian Health Minister Roberto Speranza said the measure to close nightclubs would begin Monday, Bloomberg reported. Spain is the worst-hit country in Europe for the coronavirus with over 359,000 positive cases of the virus and 28,600 COVID-19 deaths while Italy has over 254,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and over 35,000 COVID-19 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.
  • Global positive cases of the coronavirus have reached over 21.7 million, with over 776,000 COVID-19 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. The U.S. still tops the world in positive coronavirus cases at 5.4 million, with over 170,000 COVID-19 deaths. The U.S. is followed by Brazil, India and Russia in total coronavirus cases and Brazil, Mexico, and India in total COVID-19 deaths, John Hopkins data showed.

flu shot helps protect against cardiac arrest flu shot helps protect against cardiac arrest Photo: LuAnn Hunt - Pixabay