By Heather Brown

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — As Minnesota heads into flu season, experts say getting sick could be more complicated as the COVID-19 pandemic continues on.

So, what do experts know about both viruses? Good Question.

“It’s not correct to say it’s the same as flu,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Dr. Fauci was responding to a question about a social media post from President Trump calling COVID “far less lethal.”

Twitter later flagged Trump’s tweet for misleading information. Facebook took his post down.

“You don’t get a pandemic that kills a million people and it isn’t even over yet with influenza,” Fauci said.

According to data from Johns Hopkins University and the Centers for Disease Control, there have been more deaths in the U.S. due to COVID over the past eight months (212,286) than there have been attributed to influenza (178,100) over the past five seasons.

“People are being exposed to a new virus that is brand-new to their body and their body is not able to fight off it in the way that it can fight off the flu viruses that it has built immunity to over previous years,” said Dr. James Smith, a family medicine resident with the University of Minnesota.

Doctor Smith also points out part of the reason the virus is more deadly is because it’s new. There is no vaccine or FDA-approved treatment to fight it. People are also more susceptible to it because there is so little immunity.

Some of the symptoms of the two viruses, like fever and chills, are similar. But, experts say COVID can manifest itself in unique and more serious ways.

For example, some with COVID have experienced a loss of taste and smell.

On the more serious side, some COVID patients can develop life-threatening blood clots. Some children have developed a rare inflammatory disease after exposure to the virus.

“And, we don’t even know the long-term effects of COVID,” Dr. Ashish Jha, Dean of Brown University School of Public Health told CBS This Morning. “ It could end up being quite substantial.”

Experts recommend getting the flu shot before the end of October this year.

“With two viruses causing similar symptoms, it’s important to protect from the one that we can,” said Dr. Smith.

Heather Brown

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