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Health Officials Advise Flu Shot to Avoid Dealing With Flu, COVID at the Same Time

FILE - An ad offering free flu shots is seen in Brooklyn, New York, Aug. 21, 2020.

Health officials are warning the public to get a flu shot this year to avoid having to deal with COVID-19 and the flu simultaneously.

Both are highly contagious and share similar symptoms. The flu, however, is seasonal, while COVID-19 does not appear to have a timeline as it snakes around the world.

While there is no COVID vaccine yet, flu shots have been available for decades.

The only way to determine if someone has one or both of the illnesses is through laboratory tests.

Gary Simon, director of the Division of Infectious Diseases at George Washington University in Washington, told The Washington Post the prospect of beating back both diseases is making 2020 “a very tough year.”

Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center reported early Saturday there are 30.5 million COVID-19 cases worldwide with nearly 1 million deaths.

The U.S. has more coronavirus infections than any place else with 6.7 million, followed by India with 5.3 million and Brazil with 4.5 million.

European countries announced new coronavirus restrictions Friday, one day after the World Health Organization warned infections have started to spread again across the continent at “alarming rates.”

In Spain, which has more cases than any other European country with more than 640,000, the regional government of Madrid ordered a lockdown effective Monday in some poorer areas after a spike in infections there. While movement in the area will be restricted, people will still be allowed to go to work.

Authorities in Nice, France, have banned gatherings of more than 10 in public spaces and cut bar operating hours, after new restrictions were imposed earlier this week in Bordeaux and Marseilles.

Britain said it is considering a new national lockdown after cases nearly doubled to 6,000 a day in the latest reporting week. British Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said another lockdown should be a last resort but that the government would do whatever is necessary to contain the virus.

Israel began a second lockdown Friday because of a sharp jump in the number of coronavirus cases.

The three-week-long restrictions come just as the country begins the Jewish holidays.

Israelis are allowed to travel no more than 500 meters from their houses, with few exceptions.

In Iran, a senior Iranian official said the country should be on “red alert” after it reported 3,049 new cases Friday, the highest daily gain since early June.

“The color classification doesn’t make any sense anymore,” Deputy Health Minister Iraj Harirchi said in an interview with Reuters. “We no longer have orange and yellow. The entire country is red.”

Canada has decided to extend the closure of its U.S. border to nonessential travel until October 21, after seeing an increase in infections in recent weeks. Canadian Public Safety Minister Bill Blair said Friday such decisions would continue to be based on public health advice to protect Canada’s citizens. The closing was first announced March 18 and has been extended each month since.

In Brief:

  • European countries announce new restrictions after WHO warns of renewed infections
  • Madrid regional government orders lockdown effective Monday in some poorer areas
  • French authorities in Nice ban gatherings of over 10 in public spaces, cut bar hours
  • Britain considers new national lockdown after cases nearly double to 6,000 a day
  • Iranian official says Iran should be on “red alert” after 3,049 cases reported Friday
  • Canada will extend closure of its U.S. border to nonessential travel until October 21