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People are testing positive for both COVID-19 and the flu simultaneously

Published: Jan. 13, 2022 at 3:55 PM CST
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PERMIAN BASIN (KOSA) - Dr. Timothy Benton is a family medicine physician and the Regional Dean for TTUHSC Permian Basin School of Medicine. He said people testing positive for both COVID-19 and the flu is not a new phenomenon, it happened last year but was not necessarily as common.

“But interestingly much bigger worries this year because we didn’t have as much of a flu outbreak last year which is very intriguing and it’s probably related to us doing better at social distancing and masking and things of that order,” Dr. Benton.

Dr. Benton said while it’s not very common to test positive for both at the same time, the Omicron surge during regular flu season is causing an increase.

“Right now in our community both are very prevalent. There are a lot of cases of flu and a lot of cases of COVID right now so we will see more of that together,” Dr. Benton said.

Dr. Benton said both the flu and COVID-19 are going through the community in all age groups. He said both the viruses are riskier for the extremes of age and immuno-compromised.

“They both are and particularly the new variant of COVID, Omicron, are extremely virulent and extremely contagious, both viruses are,” Dr. Benton said.

Dr. Benton said it is the luck of the draw on people catching both viruses at the same time. However, he said there are some theories about having both viruses simultaneously.

“There actually are some theories out there that having them simultaneously they may sort of compete with each other and that they may help the immune system but that is theory,” said Dr. Benton.

However, Dr. Benton said there is still much to learn about new variants.

“The outcomes of flurona, as it’s being called, we don’t know yet. So much of this pandemic has taught us, being a new virus there’s a lot that we do not know yet,” said Dr. Benton.

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