COVID-19 and flu ‘Twindemic’ could overwhelm hospitals this winter

Posted on Sep 30, 2022

COVID-19 and flu ‘Twindemic’ could overwhelm hospitals this winter

Airfinity predicts a potential ‘twindemic’ of COVID-19 and flu could overwhelm hospitals this winter. 

The analysis focuses on two potential scenarios, based on data from previous winter COVID-19 waves driven by the Alpha and Omicron BA.1 variants as well as historical flu admissions from 2017-2018, the last bad flu season, as another bad flu season is expected this year based on data currently coming out of Australia. 

Airfinity’s forecast shows the UK could surpass the previous lockdown threshold of 4,000 weekly admissions, with hospitalisations expected to reach its highest peak this year. This could push hospitals in England to capacity this winter. 

In the US, hospitalisations could reach 183,000 admissions a week, their highest level to date. The biggest COVID-19 wave in January caused 152,000 weekly admissions. 

Similarly in Germany and France hospitalisations could reach record highs. With COVID-19 cases already increasing in both countries, France is expected to see 30,000 hospital admissions per week whilst Germany could see record numbers this winter with hospital admissions possibly reaching 18,000 a week. 

Dr Louise Blair, Head of Vaccines and Variants at Airfinity, says, “With several COVID-19 variants currently circulating, all with enhanced immune escape capabilities, the next COVID-19 wave is imminent. 

"Australia has been hit badly by a severe H3N2 flu strain on a population which has low immunity against the virus. This is an early and strong indicator of what could happen in other countries moving into the Autumn.

"Vaccine fatigue for COVID vaccines could exacerbate the problem. We forecast uptake COVID-19 boosters in those eligible to be ranging from 45% in US to 70% in the UK, compared to previous campaigns reaching over 90% in these groups. Higher uptake could protect healthcare systems this winter.”

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