COVID-19 in the Fall: Other diseases could complicate the picture

An increase in COVID-19 cases in the fall could be troublesome, because seasonal flu is likely to be accelerating at the same time. If the coronavirus surges in the fall and the flu season is bad, the combination could put hospitals and patients at risk. In the U.S. during the 2019–2020 flu season, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 39 million cases and 24,000 deaths.

Another concern is that since the COVID-19 pandemic began, far fewer children have been getting their regular vaccinations. An outbreak of pertussis (whooping cough), measles, flu or other preventable disease in children could also complicate the picture, making it harder for doctors and hospitals to care for all patients.

When will we have herd immunity from coronavirus?

Herd immunity is a public health term. When enough people in a community have immunity from a disease, it protects the community from outbreaks of that disease.

Infectious disease experts at The Johns Hopkins University explain that about 70% of the population needs to be immune to this coronavirus before herd immunity can work. People might be immune from the coronavirus if they have already had it, but we don’t know this yet. A widely available, safe and effective vaccine may not be available for many months.