SANTA ANA (CBSLA) — Doctors say that people worried about the global coronavirus outbreak should be much more concerned about getting sick from something much closer to home – the flu.

The death toll from coronavirus has climbed beyond 400, and more than 20,000 have become sick worldwide, prompting people to wear face masks and some acts of xenophobia, like signing a petition calling for schools in Alhambra – a city with a majority Chinese population – to close until the outbreak ends.

“I see everybody freaking out, like trying to buy masks, thinking it’s gonna help,” Letty Santa Maria said.

Pharmacies in Orange County seem to be mostly sold out of medical face masks.

But Americans should be much more worried about the flu, which has sickened as many as 26 million nationwide during this flu season. As many as 25,000 in the U.S. have died from complications of the flu, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“I’ve seen an uptick in the number of flu cases over the last several weeks,” said Dr. Vu Huynh of the OC Global Medical Center’s emergency room. “We are definitely seeing a higher number of flu cases this year versus last year.”

Fortunately, the precautions for avoiding both diseases are similar: stay home when sick or symptomatic, wash hands frequently and avoid touching the eyes, nose or mouth.

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