How Can We Tell the Difference Between Flu and COVID-19?

October 6, 2020

Some experts believe the United States is on the brink of a tsunami of viral illness as the flu season begins during the current pandemic, while others believe widespread mask wearing and social distancing will reduce flu infections to an unprecedented low. At this time, the answer is unknown.

How can we tell the difference between patients with the flu and patients with COVID-19?
This answer is known: The only way to diagnose whether someone has the flu or COVID-19 is through testing.

COVID-19 and the influenza virus share many common symptoms and patients can also contract the flu, other respiratory illnesses and COVID-19 all at the same time. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has developed a test that will check for A and B type seasonal flu viruses and COVID-19, which will be used by U.S. public health laboratories.
According to the CDC, getting the flu shot is more critical this year than ever before, and the agency has worked with vaccine manufacturers to ensure that extra flu vaccines are available for the 2020-2021 flu season.

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