The decision by Shelby County Schools to indefinitely postpone fall sports was viewed favorably, though many felt it should have been made sooner, according to the latest Memphis Power Poll results released Thursday.
The Power Poll is a monthly survey sent to more than 425 influential business, political, nonprofit and cultural leaders in the Bluff City. The poll is presented by The Commercial Appeal and sponsored by BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee and DVL Seigenthaler - Finn Partners.
The September Power Poll focused on the impact of the coronavirus in Memphis.
About 75 percent of respondents said they agreed with the SCS decision, but a little more than a third said the decision should have come sooner.
In a COVID-19 era, the flu Vaccine Remains Essential
By Dr. Andrea Willis
Senior Vice President, Chief Medical Officer
BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee
Most conversations about a “vaccine” these days are understandably about when we can expect a safe, tested and proven way to combat COVID-19.
But there’s another virus to be concerned about — the flu. And this year’s vaccine is available now. It takes about two weeks to be fully effective, so getting a flu shot now will help protect you as influenza starts to spread in October.
As community leaders, I urge you to share the importance of getting a flu shot with others.
On average, the flu hospitalizes more than 200,000 Americans per year. Worse, it can result in deaths in the tens of thousands across the country. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that more than 1,600 Tennesseans died from influenza during the 2017-2018 season.
Pair that with a pandemic that shows few signs of slowing before flu season begins, and the gravity of the situation is clear. This year, the flu could actually be more dangerous than usual.
That may sound frightening, but let me explain why it’s true — and what we can do to help prevent it.
The Influenza/COVID-19 Connection
Our public health care infrastructure is going to be challenged. The past few months have seen the tragic results of a limited number of health care resources, such as not enough COVID-19 tests, overworked and exhausted front-line providers, and fewer adult hospital beds.
Like COVID-19, the flu is easily transmitted via droplets that result from sneezing, coughing or talking.
Adults age 65 and over, pregnant women, young children, and those with a history of asthma, heart disease and stroke, and diabetes are most susceptible to the flu.
Both the flu and COVID-19 can cause severe upper respiratory infections. Studies have shown a flu shot can reduce the likelihood of catching the flu by 40-60%.
Even if you aren’t at high-risk, getting vaccinated can help protect those who are.
Ironically, people staying at home as a safety precaution for COVID-19 may be afraid to visit the doctor.. Call ahead to hear about what safety precautions are in place in the office to protect you or consider drive through flu shot clinics that may exist in your area. We have to stay as safe as we can, and that means getting a flu shot – not avoiding one.
Remember: Vaccines are Safe
Even with this reality upon us, we don’t have to live in a state of panic. Vaccines have been proven safe and effective for decades. Consider diseases like polio, which was eradicated in the U.S. thanks to development of a commercial vaccine in 1961.
Measles rates dropped for many years after its vaccine was widely accepted beginning in 1963, though we’re now seeing a resurgence because some children aren’t vaccinated.
The flu vaccine is one step you can take to help protect yourself in this environment where both the flu and COVID-19 are present. Each can cause severe respiratory illness individually and it is possible to have a dual diagnosis. Even if the flu vaccine isn’t always exact, its safety has been tested and proven reliable. Most individuals who receive it either avoid contracting the virus or have a milder case if they do.
The benefits of the flu vaccine far outweigh the risks.
If you have health insurance, your flu shot is likely covered at no or very little cost. If you don’t have insurance, remember that most local health departments in Tennessee have free flu shots available while supplies last, in addition to offering flu shots at a reasonable cost.
So please, get your flu shot, and if you can, get it now. And encourage others to do so, as well. Getting ahead of the virus’ spread could prove crucial for the health of you and your loved ones.
Related resources from BlueCross:
In other topics, nearly half of respondents feel Collierville city leaders should remove the Confederate monument from the town square while around 20 percent said it should be left alone.
Separately, nearly half of those surveyed believe Collierville city leaders should remove a Confederate monument located in a park in that city's Town Square.
The Power Poll is a monthly survey sent to around 400 influential business, political, nonprofit and cultural leaders in the Bluff City, presented by The Commercial Appeal.