Can You Have Coronavirus and the Flu at the Same Time?


Is it possible to contract both coronavirus and the flu at once?

Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease professor at Vanderbilt University in Nashville and medical director of the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases, told Today that while it is quite unusual, it is possible.

Dr. Schaffner reported that there have been cases of individuals who have contracted both illnesses at once.

"There has been a handful or less of such instances reported," Schaffner said. "We would anticipate that, if anything, you’re likely to get more severe disease."

When tests for coronavirus were not available, doctors would test people for other illnesses.

“If you were to test first for flu and the flu was positive, you would not test further,” Schaffner said.

This means that some people who had the flu and the coronavirus were not captured.

While COVID-19 initially spread across the country, flu season was winding down.

Dr. David Cennimo, an infectious disease expert at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, said that early data from China showed that people only had the coronavirus with no other illnesses.

He explained the reason for this is because COVID-19 dominated other infections.

A study by JAMA found that in the U.S., about 20% of patients had coronavirus while having another viral infection. The report also mentioned that having the coronavirus and flu infection is rare.

“We don’t know if someone would do worse infected with both viruses at the same time, but it is certainly possible,” Cennimo said.

In the future, the doctor said it is going to be essential to try to minimize the cases of influenza.

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