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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Upcoming seasonal threats coinciding with the coronavirus pandemic could further strain America's already extended emergency management systems.

Why it matters: The coronavirus vaccine likely won't be available until at least mid-2021. But while the pandemic drags on, hurricane season begins in June, wildfires generally spike in the summer and fall, and flu season peaks between December and February.

  • Those potential disasters could compound the demands for resources — both human and medical.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has been integral to the coronavirus response, managing the distribution of face masks, ventilators and other equipment.

  • But the agency is also essential in responding to natural disasters. FEMA provides temporary housing and facilitates repairs in areas hit by hurricanes, wildfires or other often devastating events.
  • Axios reported earlier this month that the FEMA is drafting a document on "COVID-19 Pandemic Operational Guidance for the 2020 Hurricane Season."
  • AccuWeather predicts 14-18 tropical storms during the 2020 season, with seven to nine developing into hurricanes.
  • And the National Interagency Fire Center is predicting above-average activity for the 2020 wildfire season following a relatively light season in 2019, per the journal Science.

Social distancing could also make preparations for these events more difficult. Prepping emergency kits for storms and hurricanes requires stocking materials, but in-person visits to stores are strenuous, and supplies, such as toilet paper or bottled water, can be hard to find.

  • Potential evacuations also could prove difficult with limited social interaction. Evacuation shelters often packing in hundreds of people.

The flu season — coupled with the coronavirus — has the potential to place a dramatic strain on health care providers and facilities. Because the flu and COVID-19 symptoms are similar, they draw from the same resources.

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield has warned that the predicted second wave of COVID-19 in the fall and spring could be even more deadly because it would coincide with the start of flu season.
  • Annual flu shots will be increasingly important this year in order to minimize hospitalizations.

Go deeper

Aug 30, 2020 - Health

FDA commissioner says he's willing to fast-track coronavirus vaccine

FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn. Photo: Pete Marovich/Getty Images

Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Stephen Hahn told the Financial Times he would be willing to fast-track the coronavirus vaccine process with an emergency use authorization before phase 3 trials are over, but insisted he would not do so for political reasons.

Why it matters: Health experts believe a vaccine — coupled with recommended public health measures — will be the path back to societal normalcy. The decision of when to green-light the vaccine will "likely to be one of the most important and sensitive in US public health history," writes the FT's Kiran Stacey.

Updated 15 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Inauguration Day dashboard

Screenshot: Fox News

President Trump has delivered a farewell speech and departed Washington for the last time on Air Force One, kicking off the day that will culminate with President-elect Joe Biden taking office.

What's next: The inaugural celebration for young Americans is being livestreamed, starting at 10am.

Updated 31 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Trump departs on final Air Force One flight

President Trump and his family took off on Air Force One at 9 a.m. on Wednesday morning for the final time en route to Florida.

The big picture: Trump's final hours as president were punctuated by his decisions to snub his successor's inauguration and grant pardons to many of his allies who have been swept up in corruption scandals.