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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.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Axios AM Deep Dive: America’s murder surge

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Erik McGregor/LightRocket via Getty Images

Homicides rose at the fastest rate in at least six decades last year. This Axios AM Deep Dive, led by Future correspondent Bryan Walsh, looks at the state of gun crime.

5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Senate Democrats target billionaires

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

After failing to get a deal on other planned tax increases, key Senate Democrats are pivoting to a billionaires' income tax to pay for President Biden's social spending.

The big picture: No advanced economy has attempted anything similar on such a scale.