Upcoming flu season a concern for medical experts amid ongoing COVID-19 pandemic

With Arizona seeing a slight uptick in coronavirus cases, healthcare professionals are urging people to remain vigilant.

The average daily number of new cases has increased, rising over the last two weeks from 480 new cases per day at the beginning of October, to 764 new cases per day on Oct. 15.

While the rise in cases is nowhere near what the state saw over the summer, one of the major concerns is flu season.

"We don’t know what is going to happen," said Dr. Omar Gonzalez, an epidemiologist at Dignity Health.

Since people just don’t know what is going to happen this season, some doctors, like Dr. Gonzalez, are urging people to still wear masks, social distance, and get a flu vaccine.

"The influenza is coming. It can make this situation more complicated. It is a preventable disease," said Dr. GOnzalez.

Influenza is one of the top 10 leading causes of death each year in the United States, and with COVID-19 numbers going up, there is no telling what the season may bring.

“I think we need to get back to the basics to put in our minds the pandemic is not over," said Dr. Gonzalez.

Dignity Health says they haven’t seen much of an impact this moment with COVID cases. They say they are well prepared, in case there is a surge.

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COVID-19 symptoms

Symptoms for coronavirus COVID-19 include fever, coughing, and shortness of breath. These, of course, are similar to the common cold and flu. 

Expect a common cold to start out with a sore or scratchy throat, cough, runny and/or stuffy nose. Flu symptoms are more intense and usually come on suddenly, and can include a high fever. 

Symptoms of COVID-19 may appear more slowly. They usually include fever, a dry cough and noticeable shortness of breath, according to the World Health Organization. A minority of cases develop pneumonia, and the disease is especially worrisome for the elderly and those with other medical problems such as high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes or heart conditions.

RELATED: Is it the flu, a cold or COVID-19? Different viruses present similar symptoms

COVID-19 resources

CDC Website for COVID-19


https://espanol.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html (In Spanish/En Español)

AZDHS Website for COVID-19


https://www.azdhs.gov/preparedness/epidemiology-disease-control/infectious-disease-epidemiology/es/covid-19/index.php#novel-coronavirus-home (In Spanish/En Español)