The Spartan Oracle.

Flu epidemic

Avi Patel, Reporter

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Nationally and locally, the the flu has taken over. From America as a whole, to the community of Santa Maria, and the classrooms of Orcutt Academy, the flu has escalated to a major epidemic.

The flu epidemic emerged around December 2017 in America. Many have been affected, and death tolls are on the rise. So far, 38 deaths have been recorded in South Carolina alone. In California, nearly 100 people have died since December 31st. The U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates 34 million Americans got the flu, 710,000 were hospitalized, and about 56,000 died throughout the U.S., between October 31st and January 15th.

Dr. Charity Dean, health officer for the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department, expresses his concern, stating that after all the research was done, they believe this will be a more severe flu season than ever before. All city and county officials are advising people to get their flu shots to keep themselves and others around them safe. Sadly, 15 people in the San Luis Obispo County have died from the flu, and one Orcutt woman recently passed as well. In Santa Maria hospitals have been overflowing with flu patients, but it doesn’t stop there.

In only 14 days at Orcutt Academy, from January 8th, 2018 to January 26th, 2018, 113 students called out sick. This is a giant leap from the 35 who called out between December 4th, 2017 and December 14th, 2017. This only includes students who called out for the entire day of school, not those who came for a few periods and then left because of flu-like symptoms. Most likely, not all of these kids had the flu, but still the number of students calling out is worrisome.

According the Wall Street Journal, in an effort to control this epidemic, there has been talk about a vaccine between many scientists at UGA, which would cover all flus. While there has been a lot of opposition to this idea for many reasons, it may be something to test out with consideration to the widespread flu epidemic.

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