US surgeon general outlines how to tell difference between Covid and flu
One of America’s top medical officials has given advice on how to distinguish between the common flu and the deadly coronavirus.
As the winter months set in across the Northern Hemisphere, there are concerns hospitals and doctor’s surgeries could be overrun with outbreaks of both the Covid-19 virus and the usual annual spike in influenza.
US Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams has highlighted the fact that a loss in taste and smell is a key symptom of Covid-19 that does not occur in flu patients and says it can help the public diagnose which virus they may or may not have.
The New York Post reports Surgeon General Adams advising: “If you get that symptom, then you need to be reaching out to your health provider right away and going in and getting a COVID test.”
He also claimed coronavirus spreads “much more easily” than flu as he urged people to “take measures to prevent both — wearing a mask, washing your hands and watching your distance.”
The top medic also suggests those worried about falling ill in winter should get a flu shot.
Mr Adams’ update comes amid encouraging reports on this side of the Atlantic that the current "second wave" of the coronavirus pandemic is slowing in the UK.
The Office for National Statistics announced on Sunday that the UK had suffered a further 168 deaths relating to Covid-19.
The number is one more than the figure reported two Sundays previous – giving hopes that the number of deaths are slowing in the second spike, and following less than two weeks of an England wide lockdown.
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NHS England reported 132 deaths in its hospitals, while Wales reported 16 new deaths and Northern Ireland recorded nine.
Professor Sir Ian Diamond said on Sophy Ridge’s Sky News show on Sunday: “The good news is – yes – we are seeing a slow down in the rate of growth.
“That means we're still increasing and we are now in England at 1.25 per 1,000. That means that one in 85 people in England, we believe, have the virus.
“In Wales, a little less at one in 100, in Scotland one in 135 and Northern Ireland one in 105. So yes we are continuing to increase the numbers, but the rate of growth is slowing.”
The seemingly plateau of deaths has raised hopes the fight against coronavirus is winning – along with reports that a vaccine is now imminent.
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A vaccine devised by US pharmaceutical company Pfizer showed 90% effectiveness against the virus – while a vaccine being devised by AstraZeneca scientists in Oxford is now expected to be green lit before the end of the year.
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