Hawaii flu outbreak complicated by virus fears

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    Source : Hawaii News Now

    HONOLULU (AP) — Hawaii is bracing for 50,000 to 70,000 cases of flu this year. But a surge in influenza has been complicated by fears of the new virus that started in China.

    Many patients visiting Hawaii emergency rooms for flu cases are worried about contracting the illness known as COVID-19, The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Sunday.

    The flu is running rampant at Hawaii health care facilities, officials said. A handful of hospitals diverted ambulances on at least one day last week because they were overwhelmed beyond capacity.

    “There is an obvious psychological component to the flu this year complicated by the coronavirus. None of our Hawaii residents have had coronavirus, but it’s still a very real thing on people’s minds,” said Democratic Lt. Gov. Josh Green, an emergency room doctor.

    The U.S. has already had 22 million influenza cases in the four months since flu season began. About three dozen Americans have been reported to have the virus that emerged late last year in central China.

    One in 1,000 people typically die of the flu, officials said.

    “That’s not an insignificant number at all. That’s thousands of people that have died from the flu. That’s 50 to 70 people who could die from complications of flu in Hawaii each year alone,” Green said.

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