A baby wearing a mask as a preventative measure against a flu outbreak when entering a hospital in Hong Kong Sunday March 16, 2008.
Caption
A baby wearing a mask as a preventative measure against a flu outbreak when entering a hospital in Hong Kong Sunday March 16, 2008.

While the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus outbreak in China a global health emergency, influenza and related illness has sickened and killed far more Georgians than the number of people in the United States affected by coronavirus.Health officials are monitoring a new coronavirus in China that may become a pandemic. But here in Georgia the Department of Public Health is still urging residents get their flu shot. GPB's Ellen Eldridge reports.

The Georgia Department of Public Health said it will notifiy residents if anyone here is confirmed to have coronavirus.

Director of Continuing Professional Development and Outreach at UGA’s College of Pharmacy Dr. Trina von Waldner said the coronavirus causing concern is part of a family of viruses that cause the common cold.

MORE: UGA Expert on Coronavirus Outbreak

“The difference with this one though is that it is, it spreads from animals to humans, which is what happened with this virus, and it seems to be particularly virulent,” she said.

Flu may seem commonplace since it returns annually, but since the start of the season on Sept. 29 through Jan. 25 of this year, 42 Georgians have died and 1,375 people have been hospitalized, according to DPH's latest numbers. 

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While it’s too soon to know whether flu activity has peaked officials say it is never too late to get a flu shot. Vaccination along with covering your mouth when you cough and washing your hands are the best ways to protect against illness.  This is true for preventing coronavirus as well.