First some stats currently on the new coronavirus. Currently in the US the cdc has confirmed only 15 (35 total from travelers on state dept planes) cases as of 2/24/2020. (ref It hasnt caused any deaths here in the states. Currently “at this time, this virus is NOT currently spreading in the community in the United States.” Also there are drug trials starting to combat it. There are no cases here in OK.

In short, unless you have traveled to Wuhan, China, you dont have to worry about this virus. Things may change but that is how things are as of this post.

If you think all the coronavirus stuff is scary though, you are missing the real concern. It is a concern EVERY year. I talk about it all the time. The problem is that it just isnt sexy to talk about. It doesnt sell newspapers. It doesnt get clicks. It doesnt provide scary news TV stories. I call it the Rodney Dangerfield of viruses. It gets no respect.

Yes what I am talking about is the good ol’ fashioned flu. Influenza A and B. Remember a year or two ago when we had every news station talking about ebola. The whole country was on edge, and we ended up with just ONE case making it to our shores. People get worried about these “scary” illnesses all the time. Yet I cant get people scared enough of influenza to get a vaccine that is $20 every year. Dont you think if the chinese had known this coronavirus thing was coming and could prevent the breakout with a vaccine they would have? Yet here in our country flu vaccine rates arent as high as they should be.

Let’s look at some numbers: this year alone the CDC reports that the number of flu cases IN THE US ALONE this season totaled 29 MILLION. Hospitalizations 280,000 as of the week ending Feb. 15. CDC officials also report that there have been 16,000 flu-related fatalities, including 105 pediatric deaths. The total number of accumulated infections of coronavirus in China is 77,658, with 2,663 deaths at this point.

It’s not even a close comparison. Now I’m not saying coronavirus isnt bad. I’m glad the CDC and the world (WHO) are all over this. It is bad. I just hope all of you reading this will remember to get your flu shot next October. Put a reminder in your phone now. Flu is VERY dangerous (even with a vaccine to help protect us), and we have it every year here. I dont think we can even imagine how bad it would be without the vaccine to help.

Dr D