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Children in the United States are dying from the flu even as the new coronavirus continues to spread. That should give us more than a little pause. As some Americans continue to scoff at best health practices, including appropriate vaccines for the flu, how ready are we to handle a viral pandemic?

Some 10,000 Americans have died of the flu this year, and 180,000 have been hospitalized.

Plenty of people are still basking in misinformation, with sometimes deadly results. The mother of a 4-year-old Colorado boy consulted an anti-vaccine Facebook group when flu hit her house, according to media reports. She wrote that she had declined to fill a Tamiflu prescription written by a doctor, but was treating her children with peppermint oil and lavender. Members advised her to use breast milk, thyme and elderberry. Her son died. Facebook said it is trying to reduce the spread of vaccine misinformation on its site.

Celebrity-studded anti-vax debates run the risk of becoming a parlor game or something of a joke. Instead, the urgent need to corral the coronavirus is a sobering reminder that public health is serious business.

The results of not taking the flu seriously can be deadly.

Editorial on 02/14/2020

Print Headline: The deadly serious flu

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