Director Robert R. Redfield speaks as Donald Trump listens during the daily briefing on coronavirus in Washington. AFP
A second wave of the novel coronavirus in the US could be even more destructive because it will likely collide with the beginning of flu season, one of the country's top health officials said on Tuesday.
Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), called on Americans to use the coming months to prepare -- and get their flu shots.
"There's a possibility that the assault of the virus on our nation next winter will actually be even more difficult than the one we just went through," he was quoted as saying in an interview with the Washington Post published late on Tuesday.
"We're going to have the flu epidemic and the coronavirus epidemic at the same time," he said.
The US has recorded more than 800,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic, according to a tally from Johns Hopkins University, with 44,845 deaths -- the most reported of any country.
Billions of people around the world have been ordered to stay at home in recent months as governments try to prevent the highly contagious coronavirus from overwhelming healthcare systems.
The US, like other countries, has scrambled to secure enough ventilators and personal protection equipment for medical staff while the death toll mounts.
Redfield said the virus arrived in the US just as regular flu season -- which itself can strain healthcare systems -- was waning.
If the two diseases had peaked at the same time, he told the Post, "it could have been really, really, really, really difficult" for health systems to cope.
Getting a flu shot ahead of next flu season, he said, "may allow there to be a hospital bed available for your mother or grandmother that may get coronavirus".
The country — hardest hit by the pandemic in terms of the number of fatalities — has now confirmed a total of 1,283,829 cases, the Baltimore-based school reported.
The Baltimore-based university had recorded more than 1.1 million cases in the country as of 8:30pm on Friday (0030 GMT Saturday), with 64,789 deaths, a rise of three percent from a day earlier.
The country — hardest hit by the pandemic in terms of the number of fatalities — has now confirmed a total of 1,466,682 cases, the Baltimore-based school reported.
Police said the girl took the step after her parents took away her cell phone from her as a punishment for scoring low grades in school. So she decided to hide on the roof of the house.
Central and Eastern Europe are facing a surge in COVID-19 cases and difficulties with vaccine deliveries.
In addition to the new cases, 2,478 individuals have recovered and 16 people passed away.