According to a study, people in the UK should prepare to feel the effects of the new flu season starting today, with the health service facing a “significant public health emergency”.
The new flu strain has the potential to spread to as many as 5.8 million people, with many of them vulnerable to infection.
The British Medical Association has warned of the “unprecedented” threat the virus poses, with NHS England’s chief medical officer, Mark Porter, warning that the NHS has to respond “to this pandemic and to the risk of it spreading”.
“This is a major public health crisis and we are working hard to help our citizens cope,” Porter said.
The UK’s first coronavirus pandemic is expected to hit the UK in late February and Porter said the UK’s response would be “complex, but crucial”.
It is not just the UK that is being hit by the new strain, with Australia also experiencing the first influenza-related deaths.
In the US, the flu is also affecting people in California and the state of New York.
The virus is spreading rapidly in the US and the US government has warned that people should expect to see their healthcare spending slashed.
Porter said he expects the US to see a further increase in hospitalizations for flu cases, and that more than 1.5 million people are now under observation for flu-related illnesses.
In Europe, people should be prepared to take their personal health more seriously.
“People are going to feel sick more than ever,” Porter told reporters.
“The only way to deal with this pandemics is to get our heads out of our asses and to start looking at what we’re doing and to get ourselves in good shape to do that.”
He also said people should take advantage of the UK flu pandemic to get vaccinated.
Porter, who has been the British Medical Board’s health adviser for more than 20 years, said the new pandemic was not just about pandemic, but also about the “health of our society”.
“We’re talking about a massive public health event,” Porter added.
“We need to respond to this pandic in a very effective way and that means we need to have the public health resources in place to deal effectively with it.”