Hey Sydney, are you feeling fluey? Runny nose, sore throat, body aches, that sort of thing?
You already know where I’m going with this, but I’ll lay it out anyway: you should really get tested for COVID-19, because NSW health officials have warned you’re currently more likely to have coronavirus than ordinary influenza.
Speaking in Sydney Monday morning, NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant echoed reports that some folks are assuming their symptoms are linked to the flu, and not the entirely different coronavirus.
“They’re saying, ‘It’s OK, I got flu-like symptoms,” she said. “‘I must have influenza. I don’t need a COVID test.’”
But the same social distancing measures, lockdowns, and travel restrictions which have been used against the coronavirus pandemic have also impacted confirmed flu cases, which are just a fraction of what they were in previous years.
Data obtained by the Sydney Morning Herald shows just 39 cases of flu were confirmed in NSW last month, compared to 388 cases of COVID-19. For comparison, the state confirmed more than 36,000 cases of influenza in July last year.
It’s not due to reduced influenza testing, either, as the Herald notes weekly flu testing rates are still kicking along.
“If you have symptoms, respiratory symptoms of cough, fever, sore throat, runny nose, headache, aches and pains, it is most likely that you have COVID-19, not flu,” Dr Chant said.
Seven new COVID-19 cases were confirmed in NSW yesterday, bringing the state’s total to 3,768.
Mask up, socially distance, wash your hands, and, as always, get tested if you’re feeling ill.