Flurona Frenzy

Is there really a combination of the flu and COVID-19?

Grace Jennings, Copy Editor

The U.S. has experienced recent spikes in cases of COVID-19 with the introduction of the highly transmissible omicron variant. Amongst the fervor rumors of a “flurona” virus, a combination of influenza and COVID-19 have sparked.
Though combination viruses have been previously recorded, rest assured “flurona” is no such thing. In fact, it does not exist.
“The contractions like ‘flurona,’ I think they’re very misleading to people,” Dr. Ellen Foxman, an immunologist at the Yale School of Medicine, said. “It presents the idea two viruses have somehow merged into one, which is not at all the case.”
The term began trending on social media after someone contracted both COVID-19 and influenza that the same time. It quickly became misinterpreted that there was a variant that contains both viruses that was spreadable.
“It would be like saying the ocean has an octo-whale because you found both animals in the same body of water,” Matt Koch, a virologist and immunologist said.
Though the mythical flurona is not a real variant, it is possible to catch both viruses at the same time, though uncommon. And it has happened all throughout the pandemic, not just in the last few months.
“I’ve not seen any data to suggest that it is getting more common,” Matt Koci said but if it does, it’s substantially more likely to affect the unvaccinated and unmasked first.”

Koci noted that if one does catch both COVID-19 and the flu at the same time, the symptoms are substantially worse than either one individually. He advises receiving vaccinations, wearing masks, and getting booster shots when available to avoid the possibility of contracting the two infections at once.

Image from the New York Times.