PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Stories about the coronavirus and the number of people impacted by it around the world are practically on the news every night.
According to Jessica Rigler, the assistant director of health preparedness with Arizona's Department of Health Services, there has only been one case of the coronavirus in Arizona, compared to thousands of flu cases. "Public health in Arizona is taking coronavirus very seriously, but the most immediate threat this time, as far as infectious disease to the Arizona public, is the flu," she said.
Flu cases in Arizona are up to 85% compared to last year, with roughly 17,000 flu cases reported. And there's no indication flu season is coming to an end any time soon.
Cary Olson's 5-year old daughter Avyn got hit with the flu a few weeks ago. "It's really concerning," said Olson, who lives in Phoenix. "You worry about if they are going to need to be hospitalized since they are so young."
Phoenix pediatrician Dr. David Lersch said this is one of the worst flu seasons we've seen in years. "The new Influenza A strain is increasing, so its lasting longer because we kind of had two different strains of the flu," said Lersch. "It's much more prolonged and bigger numbers. Lots of people have the flu."
Flu season usually wraps up around March, but this year, it's expected to last through April and possibly into the summer. Health experts say it's not too late to get a flu shot. It doesn't guarantee you won't get the flu, but it will greatly reduce your risk.
"It's true. It doesn't protect and completely prevent all kinds of flu, but it dramatically shortens the flu and prevents the complications," said Lersch.