'Flurona' hits US amid record COVID-19 cases, resurgence of influenza

Doctor: The goal of the COVID vaccine is protection against serious illness

FDA vaccine advisory board member Dr. Paul Offit explains the ‘unrealistic expectation’ for vaccines to protect against mild illness.

Multiple cases of “flurona,” or COVID-19 and an influenza infection simultaneously, have been detected in the United States as the nation sees a resurgence of the flu amid record COVID-19 cases. 

Ken Vaughn, a North Carolina father of two, said that his 7-year-old son had an irritated throat after Christmas, so they took him to the doctor. 

“They gave him a COVID swab, a flu swab, and then they did a second COVID swab in case the quick test came back negative,” Vaughn told Fox News Digital. 

“Well, they called back in 30 minutes and said, ‘Yeah, it’s COVID and it’s flu B.’ And they said they had never seen it before.”

A nurse prepares an injection of the influenza vaccine at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. (REUTERS/Brian Snyder)

Vaughn provided tests results to Fox News Digital showing his son’s positive tests for COVID-19 and the flu on Dec. 27. 

Vaughn’s son, who had just received his second dose of the Pfizer vaccine a month earlier, was on bed rest for two days with a 102-degree fever, but he’s feeling like himself again after a week. 

“[The doctors] had never seen it before and it was scary as hell to them. They’re like, ‘Oh, God, what are we going to be dealing with here?'” Vaughn said. “It’s a moment where a parent really can go to their darkest place.”

Vaughn was feeling slightly under the weather as well, but he had recently received a booster dose and just has a slight cough about a week later. 

People wait in line at a COVID-19 testing site in New York’ Times Square on Dec. 13, 2021. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File) 

Jenny Fields, a Mississippi resident, said she started feeling ill in September and took a rapid antigen test, which came back negative, but had to go to urgent care after her condition deteriorated. 

“She got worse and we had to take her to urgent care, and they said that she tested positive for corona and the flu,” Daniel Fields, Jenny’s husband who took her to get tested, told Fox News Digital. 

The Fields provided documentation showing Jenny’s positive test results for COVID-19 and the flu on Sept. 19. 

“I had chills, body aches. I could barely get off the sofa,” Jenny, who said she is not vaccinated against COVID-19, told Fox News Digital. 

Daniel, who is vaccinated, said that he and the couple’s 14-year-old son also started feeling bad, but recuperated quickly after receiving monoclonal antibody treatments. 

“It was the worst set of body aches I’ve ever experienced in my life,” Daniel said. 

Lurie Children’s hospital registered nurse Carolyn Ruyle prepares a dose of a Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at Lurie Children’s hospital Friday, Nov. 5, 2021, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh) 

A COVID-19 testing site told FOX 11 Los Angeles that a child who had just returned from Cabo San Lucas with his family tested positive for both coronavirus and the flu this week. 

Dr. Janak Patel, a director at the University of Texas Medical Branch, said that three cases of “flurona” have been detected in the Houston area, according to KTRK. 

An unvaccinated pregnant woman tested positive for the flu and COVID-19 in Israel last week, the Times of Israel reports. 

The CDC referred Fox News to a study conducted by the National Institutes of Health last June that found 79 cases of COVID-19 and flu co-infection throughout the world. 

David Edwards, an aerosol scientist and faculty member at Harvard University, explained that both respiratory viruses spread similarly in the air through “very, very small droplets that don’t settle by gravity.”

“Can it happen? Absolutely. And will it happen more? I’m sure it will,” Edwards told Fox News Digital. “But people should recognize that the probability of being infected by both viruses will be a lot lower than the probability of being infected by either one of them.”

Only one child died from the flu during the historically light 2020-2021 influenza season. By comparison, 199 children died from the year before, and 144 children died the year before that, according to CDC data. 

Two children have already died this year as flu cases resurge. There were about 5,000 flu cases reported at clinical and public health laboratories in the week that ended Dec. 25. 

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