On Wednesday (Nov. 2), Michigan’s Chief Medical Executive, Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, came to Local 4 to sit down for the first time to talk about all things flu, RSV, the common cold, and COVID-19.
Bagdasarian is as precise a communicator in person as she is over zoom the crux of her message. Cold and flu season is here, but we shouldn’t see getting sick as inevitable as there are plenty of things everyone can and should do right away. Think of it as her viral survival guide.
Dr. Frank McGeorge: “We are in an RSV surge; COVID is a little bit flat. The flu hasn’t quite taken off yet. What is the potential that there might be a tridemic that people have talked about?”
Dr. Bagdasarian: “You know, I think calling it a tridemic sounds really exciting and really novel, but again, we have to think about this as being cold and flu season. It’s not just those three viruses. We have other viruses that circulate at this time of year as well. Things like rhinovirus, parainfluenza, influenza other coronaviruses, and of course, we’re looking forward to what’s going to happen with COVID-19 and whether we’ll see a surge of COVID-19 this winter, so we really need to prepare for all these things.”
Dr. Frank McGeorge: “What should people be doing to prevent or limit the damage?”
Dr. Bagdasarian: “Number one, it’s making sure that you are vaccinated and boosted for things like COVID-19 and influenza. Number two, keeping a supply of masks at home, staying home when you’re unwell, and masking up to prevent the spread to other people when you are feeling sick. Number three, keeping a supply of those over-the-counter tests at home so that you can test at least for COVID-19 when you are feeling unwell, and lastly, talking to your doctor to see if you qualify for some of those therapeutics that we have at least for COVID-19 and influenza.”
Dr. Frank McGeorge: “Regarding COVID right now in the state, it appears levels are at low to medium across the entire state. Would you say COVID is on the way out, is it over?”
Dr. Bagdasarian: “COVID’s going to be with us for a while. COVID is set to become one of these respiratory viruses that we see at certain times of the year the way we see circulating influenza or other coronaviruses or RSV that we’re seeing now. Our goal, ‘we’ve been saying this for some time,’ is not to prevent every single case of COVID-19. What we’re trying to do is keep people out of the hospital, keep people safe and healthy, and prevent deaths from COVID-19.