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Has COVID-19 Slowed the Spread of Influenza?

March 01, 2021

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Despite having entered the peak of flu season, various parts of the US have reported a considerable drop in influenza cases. ABC News expands on the topic in a recent article titled "Influenza Cases Appear to Have Disappeared in Some US Cities Amid COVID-19 Pandemic", looking at the situation in different parts of the country and showing the assessment of the country's health officials.

COVID-19 Slowed the Spread of Influenza
After being the cause of 600,000 to 800,000 annual hospitalizations in the US, documented flu cases have only reached a small fraction of the numbers reported in recent years, with no documented cases in facilities like Maine Medical Center (Portland) and Salem Hospital (Oregon).

According to experts, such a drop in influenza infections might result from several circumstances, starting with the safety guidelines enforced all over the country to counter the spread of COVID-19 (face masks, social distancing, less travelling, etc), and the initiative to make flu shots available in different parts of the country. Over 190 million flu vaccine doses have been distributed this season, but low infection rates have actually put a hurdle on the plans for next season's vaccines.

Some Hospitals Have 0 Influenza Cases
There's also the possibility of COVID-19 having muscled influenza and other bugs aside. This phenomenon has been referenced in past scientific research over patterns that make certain flu strains predominate over others.

Latest reports show one pediatric flu death according to the CDC's running count. "Many parents will tell you that this year their kids have been as healthy as they've ever been, because they're not swimming in the germ pool at school, or daycare, the same way they were in prior years," says Dr. Nate Mick, head of the emergency department at Maine Medical Center.

Countries all over the globe have also reported low levels of flu infection, potentially adding weight to the theories relating the drop in cases to the measures taken worldwide to protect the population from the COVID-19 pandemic.

You can read the complete article here: Influenza Cases Appear to Have Disappeared in Some US Cities Amid COVID-19 Pandemic.


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