Doctors: Americans should be more worried about the flu than cor - FOX34 Lubbock

Doctors: Americans should be more worried about the flu than coronavirus

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"If you live in China right now, absolutely you should have concern. If you live in the United States, you live in Texas, you live in Lubbock, awareness? Sure. Concern? No," infectious disease expert Dr. Lawrence Martinelli said.

The deadly coronavirus originating from Wuhan, China has claimed the lives of more than 500 people.

At least 11 cases confirmed in the U.S. and thousands are affected worldwide.

Dr. Martinelli says the new disease, has been hyped up in the media. 

"At this point, there's a lot of anxiety, there is a lot of attention it's from an exotic place, it's new and different, there have been a lot of people who have died from it. But it's not something we should worry about in Lubbock, Texas or even in the United States," Martinelli explained.

There's a bigger threat out there, one we have known about for years.

"I'm a lot more worried about the person sitting next to me on the plane having influenza and exposing me to that, than any worry about coronavirus," Martinelli said.

This season millions of Americans-- almost 1 in 10-- have caught a case of the flu.

Lubbock county has recorded 1300 cases so far.

"I think the flu's familiar, it's every year, we tell people to get their flu shot," Martinelli said. "We get desensitized to it, because it's something we're used to, something we know, and it's something that always happens," he said.

It may be February, but doctors say it is not too late to protect yourself from the flu.

"The flu season will likely last several more weeks, possibly into April. There's still already a great deal of activity, so it's not too late to get your flu shot. If you haven't already, go today, go now," Martinelli added.

Vaccination is one of the simplest things to prevent illness for yourself, and the people around you, according to Dr. Martinelli.

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