CDC says second wave of coronavirus in winter could hit US harder than outbreak now

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Robert Redfield, the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States, said Tuesday that while the US might appear to be near reaching the peak number of coronavirus cases during the current outbreak, a second wave could hit during the winter and may even be worse.

In an interview with The Washington Post, Redfield said another outbreak of the novel coronavirus in winter could be more disastrous because of the strain it would place on hospitals, even if preparation and treatment options improve.

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"There's a possibility that the assault of the virus on our nation next winter will actually be even more difficult than the one we just went through," Redfield said. "And when I've said this to others, they kind of put their head back; they don't understand what I mean."

"We're going to have the flu epidemic and the coronavirus epidemic at the same time," he added, predicting a dual assault on the health care system.

Last year, the flu killed at least 34,200 Americans, according to the CDC, and made an estimated 35.5 million people sick.

Redfield stressed the need for measures to emphasize the importance of flu shots to reduce hospitalizations due to the flu.

He said that getting a flu vaccine "may allow there to be a hospital bed available for your mother or grandmother that may get coronavirus."

The US is currently the hardest hit country, with the highest number of infections and deaths in the world. It has more than 840,000 confirmed cases and over 46,000 fatalities according to the Johns Hopkins tally.

On Wednesday, US President Donald Trump tweeted that Redfield was misquoted and would be putting out a statement.

Redfield, however, said he was quoted accurately.

"I think it's really important to emphasize what I didn't say: I didn't say that this was going to be worse," Redfield said.

"I said it was going to be more difficult and potentially complicated because we're going to have flu and coronavirus circulating at the same time."

- With Reuters

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