Doctor says healthcare system could overload as flu season approaches

Doctor says healthcare system could overload as flu season approaches
Local doctor warns of possible healthcare overload with flu season approaching amid COVID-19 pandemic (Source: WDAM)

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - With coronavirus case numbers still high in the Magnolia State, some health officials are pleading with residents to continue to follow guidelines.

“Please, please start wearing masks,” said Dr. James Griffin, a family physician with the Southeast Mississippi Rural Health Initiative. “Please social distance. Please wash your hands.”

Griffin was recently elected president of the Mississippi Academy of Family Physicians. He plans to use his new position to educate the Mississippians about COVID-19.

He says continuing the conversation on masks, social distancing and hand washing is extremely important.

According to Griffin, Mississippians need to keep complying with the mandates from Gov. Tate Reeves and State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs.

Griffin said he has listened to many people call COVID-19 a “hoax.” But, he says it is real and can affect anyone.

“Hopefully it will not take the death of a loved one to change your thinking on this or a death of you, the impending death of you, to start encouraging other people to be more compliant with the mandates that we have that are for the welfare of the public,” said Griffin.

However, it is not just COVID-19 that people need to worry about. As flu season approaches, Griffin said that illness could cause additional problems for healthcare systems.

“I also see looming on the horizon are potential problems with the flu season that is coming up,” said Griffin. “The flu, by itself normally during the upcoming season, is a problem all of itself with several people who have chronic problems. Especially asthma, COPD, having significant problems and requiring hospitalizations. There are even deaths from obtaining the flu. This is even in children. With the appearance of the COVID-19 pandemic, our concern, the health concern is that there will be a system that could potentially be overloaded.”

During the 2018-2019 flu season, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported an estimated 35.5 million people had influenza.

The CDC reports the United States has seen 5,682,491 total cases of COVID-19 since the virus hit the nation.

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