Arkansas doctors explain dangers of flu vs. coronavirus

HARRISON, Ark. -- From shut down schools:

"Like Cotter was out for several days for the flu," said Nicole Denton, who lives in Cotter.

To concerned grandparents:

"I've got three little grandchildren," said Tim Cooper, who lives in Harrison.

People around northern Arkansas are worried about the flu and for good reason.

“I'm really concerned about them getting sick," Cooper said.

Fifty-six people have died from the virus in Arkansas this season, and it’s widespread here and in every surrounding state.

But the headlines seem to be focused on a different sickness.

"I just hope it stays away," said Deborah Blevins, who lives in Mountain Home.

There hasn’t been a single confirmed case of the coronavirus in Arkansas. Still, Dr. Victor Chu and Dr. Kevin Jackson at Crossroads Medical Clinic in Harrison understand why people are nervous.

"So far there is no vaccine for coronavirus, and as of right now there's no treatment for coronavirus," Chu said.

Chu said if you're traveling out of the country, you do want to be careful. Worldwide, coronavirus has killed more than 2,000 people.

"But that just pales in comparison to what we have from the flu," Chu said.

"There have probably been way more people in Arkansas that have died from influenza this year than have even contracted coronavirus in the country," Jackson said.

Jackson said the flu season seems to get longer and longer every year.
But he's hoping to see fewer people come in his office with the flu as the season changes.

"Hopefully as the weather warms up over the next few weeks, we'll see the symptoms and number of cases die down," Jackson said.

That may happen before fears of the coronavirus do the same.

"I don't think there's any reason for us to cut out trips and stop eating out and all that. No. As long as you're taking good care of yourself, I think it's OK," said Katherine Nance, who lives in Newton County.

Doctors said when it comes to protecting yourself from either coronavirus or the flu, you should obviously cover your mouth when you cough and sneeze and wash your hands thoroughly. And for the flu, doctors encourage you to also get your vaccine.

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