The first signs of flu are not good, either

Southern California braces for difficult flu season as cases rise after COVID lull

A man gets a flu shot at a clinic in Riverside County in March. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the coronavirus pandemic is prompting flu season to get underway early. (Rich Pedroncelli/Associated Press)

A man gets a flu shot at a clinic in Riverside County in March. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the coronavirus pandemic is prompting flu season to get underway early. (Rich Pedroncelli/Associated Press)

In what is likely to be the most difficult flu season in years, the early signs are not good.

The coronavirus pandemic is prompting flu season to get underway early. The early signs are not good, either.

Experts say the U.S. will have fewer cases and a lower death rate this season than in past flu seasons. But those are likely to be the best-case scenarios, considering the severity of the coronavirus pandemic and the health conditions of patients who may not be getting flu shots.

“We’re in for a very hard flu season if it continues as we expect it to,” said Dr. Robert Webber, a UCLA infectious disease specialist. “While the peak of flu season in the West is in October, this season is likely to be more severe and have a higher death rate.”

The flu season gets underway early in Northern California, but it starts much later in Southern California. That’s because the peak in Northern California comes later into the season.

Southern California has had some success with vaccinations, Dr. Michael Katz, a professor of pediatrics at the University of Southern California — where the outbreak started in Wuhan — said this week.

But those cases, which generally involve children and the elderly, are on the decline.

The risk of flu is higher in Southern California than in Northern California, a result of two factors, Dr. Katz said.

The first is that the number of people who travel to the U.S. each year tends to be higher in Southern California. The second is that people who are sick are more likely to travel because they are not able to get

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