High School Football Coach In South Georgia Hospitalized With Flu And COVID-19
A football coach at a high school in South Georgia is in the hospital after testing positive for both influenza and COVID-19, according to the school's Facebook page.
Tift County Head Football Coach Ashley Anders felt sick with flu-like illness earlier this week and was immediately quarantined. He has not had contact with the football team since last Friday, the school said.
“Please keep Coach Anders and his family in your prayers as he battles these illnesses,” the Facebook post says.
Tift County is about 185 miles south of Atlanta.
Meanwhile, the medical community is urging Georgians to get vaccinated for the flu.
With the threat of COVID-19 as well as other illnesses that could lead to pneumonia, it's even more important to get a flu shot, said Dr. John Johnson, secretary of the board of directors of the Medical Association of Atlanta.
"Not having a vaccine increases your risk of fatality associated with influenza," he said. "I would say getting it early would be the key. Having both influenza and COVID-19 concomitantly could be potentially catastrophic."
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated 39 million to 56 million flu illnesses nationwide, resulting in 18 million to 26 million medical visits. A significant flu and RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) season this year could put an added strain on the health care system, as people experience similar symptoms – fever, cough, and aches, for example – with COVID-19 and respiratory viruses.
In Georgia, more than 2,500 people in the eight-county metro Atlanta area were hospitalized with flu, and 94 Georgians died in the 2019-20 flu season.
Since March, more than 6,200 Georgians have died of COVID-19, according to the state health department.
"I would say the risk of concomitant infection or dual infection of both is very severe," Johnson said. "Again, there's increased mortality associated with each condition independently. And so both attacking the respiratory system of the same individual concomitantly could potentially have catastrophic impact."