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COVID-like flu is caused by a lack of mask use

COVID-like flu is caused by a lack of mask use

The high number of coronavirus-like flu cases in Turkey has not decreased since mid-August, since individuals have grown less careful with mask use and hygiene, a Turkish physician said on Friday.

“I see the greatest reason for this as the slackening in compliance to personal hygiene rules,” Dr. Hakan Oguzturk told Anadolu Agency, adding that people had not remained firm in wearing face masks.

Noting that flu cases had been relatively low last summer due to greater care for hygiene, Oguzturk said that the symptoms of such diseases resembled those the Delta coronavirus variant, but were markedly more severe.

Maintaining hygiene and wearing masks are the surest way to prevent infection of both COVID-19 and the flu, which are caused by the same family of viruses, said Oguzturk, who serves as the head of emergency services at the Ankara City Hospital in the Turkish capital.

He urged people to follow hygiene rules and continue to wear masks during the summer, especially in closed spaces, as well as for people who experience the common major symptoms of both the Delta variant and the flu — headaches, sore throat, and a runny nose — to get PCR tests.

The increase in mobility and the number of people flouting social distance rules and mask wearing gives airborne viruses the opportunity to infect, he added.

“Compliance with personal hygiene rules serves as a barrier against the activation of both COVID-19 and other viruses.”​​​​​​​

Since December 2019, the pandemic has claimed around 4.48 million lives in 192 countries and regions, with more than 214.6 million cases reported worldwide, according to the US’ John Hopkins University.