COVID-19 precautions help blunt flu impacts, Imelda Dacones, MD, tells Wall Street Journal

Imelda Dacones, MD

Northwest Permanente leader Imelda Dacones, MD, was among health experts quoted in The Wall Street Journal for a story about how COVID-19 precautions — wearing masks, washing hands, and social distancing — have blunted the impact of influenza and other seasonal respiratory viruses this year.

The lower number of flu-related hospitalizations is good news for hospitals now stretched thin with COVID-19 patients, said Dr. Dacones, president and CEO of Northwest Permanente, which serves Kaiser Permanente members and patients in Oregon and southwest Washington.

“If you can have increased bed capacity in your hospital because fewer people are getting sick from the flu, that helps you,” said Dr. Dacones, who also serves as chair of The Permanente Federation’s National Permanente Executive Committee.

She added that a lighter flu season also means fewer physician visits, conserving resources for more- severe illnesses and other medical issues.

Note: To read the entire article, visit The Wall Street Journal website.