Coronavirus/Flu Overlap Could Challenge CT, U.S.: Experts

CONNECTICUT — Connecticut likely has at least a couple more months of low-level coronavirus activity thanks to strong mask use and social distancing, but at some point the state will likely see some level of resurgence, said Scott Gottlieb, the former Food and Drug Administration commissioner and state resident.

The key to keeping any resurgent activity is to have enough testing and contact tracing capacity, he said during Gov. Ned Lamont’s news conference.

Gottlieb and other health experts this week warned that seeing an uptick of coronavirus infections at the same time as the state’s usual flu season could greatly challenge hospitals and the health care system as a whole.

“I think at some point there is a risk that we are going to have a confluent epidemic across the United States because we have a lot of infection,” Gottlieb said. “We are taking an awful lot of infection into the fall and it’s going to collide with flu season and overwhelm our ability to do effective testing.”

State Epidemiologist Matthew Cartter expressed similar concern earlier this week. Connecticut’s flu season typically starts in late December and goes through February.


A large-scale coronavirus vaccine is more likely to be an early 2021 event, Gottlieb said. The U.S. will likely have strong data from large-scale vaccine trials sometime in October. The country’s high infection rate makes it a good place to test a vaccine because control groups within studies will still have a high level of exposure to the virus, Gottlieb said.

Several manufacturers have announced that they will start producing vaccine doses that will likely be ready by the late summer in hopes that they are effective and approved.

“By the time one of these is authorized or approved you’re going to have some supply on hand that you can start distributing,” Gottlieb said.

This article originally appeared on the Across Connecticut Patch