Keeping the flu at bay is no more important, as there will be an outbreak of Kovid-19 in addition to the flu this fall and winter.
Along with getting a flu shot, Redfield urged people to wear masks, social distance, wash their hands and be smart about the crowd.
An easy flu season in the Southern Hemisphere
Take Australia for example.
In August 2019, 61,000 laboratory influenza cases were confirmed in Australia.
In August 2020, there were 107.
“It’s virtually a non-weather,” said Ian Barr, a professor of microbiology and immunology at the University of Melbourne. “We have never seen such numbers before.”
The Southern Cone experiences of South Africa and South America were similar.
Pan American Health Organization consultant for epidemic disease Dr. Andrea Vicari said, “Where you’d expect the weather to be in Chile, like in Argentina – we didn’t really see a season this year.” .
Kovid-19 is the very reason.
The flu season began as a Kovid-19 hit in the Southern Hemisphere. People took all precautions to control the new virus – living at home, practicing social disturbances, wearing masks – it also helps keep the flu numbers down.
“Many physical disturbances and public health measures that keep people apart may actually have played a role in reducing circulation” [coronavirus], “Said Kovid-19 Technical Leadership of the World Health Organization, Maria Van Kerkhov.
Vikari said that Kovid may have influenced people to get the flu shot.
“If we compare the previous season, I think there was a slightly higher urge in terms of vaccination for influenza.”
He said it is also possible that a significant number of people already had immunity to the flu virus in the Southern Hemisphere earlier this year.
Implications for the Northern Hemisphere
Infectious disease experts warn that an easy flu season below does not mean the US will necessarily be lucky.
Dr., an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. William Scheffner said, “It is very dangerous to make predictions about influenza.”
He said that with the low amount of flu in the Southern Hemisphere, he is still concerned about the flu and the “twin-monstrosity” of Kovid-19, which could put the cost of living and pressure on the health care system.
A look at the number of hospitalizations shows the burden of two viruses at once.
“From a resource standpoint, this is the worst possibility,” said Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Diseases Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota. “It’s really a perfect storm.”
This is why a flu shot is particularly important this year.
“Red Flu said that by getting the flu vaccine, you could deny the need to take a hospital bed, and then the hospital bed might be available to those who are hospitalized for Kovid.”
Just the right diagnosis can be difficult, because the flu and coronavirus symptoms are very similar.
WHO’s Van Kerkhov said, “We will not be able to immediately distinguish whether someone has the flu or someone has a Kovid.”
Doctors will need to perform more tests than usual, but tests for both the flu and Kovid-19 are incomplete.
In addition, outbreaks of both viruses can mean a lack of personal protective equipment for healthcare workers.
“This is actually going to end our PPE shares very quickly,” Osterholm said.
Plans for flu shots this year
Redfield said that the CDC has purchased 10 million doses of the flu vaccine for uninfected adults this year, compared to the usual 500,000 doses.
He said, “Please do not leave this important achievement of American medicine on the shelf for yourself, your family, your church, your employees.”
But the increased supply does not mean Americans rush to take a flu shot.
This year, there are unique obstacles.
This year, many people are hesitant to go to the doctor for fear of catching Kovid.
According to the study, about 15% of adults took their flu to work. This year, many people are working from home.
“It’s going to be a challenge,” Osterholm said, “how are we going to get our flu shots?”
To help get more children vaccinated against the flu, in August, the Trump administration authorized any state-licensed pharmacist to administer the flu shot to children as young as 3 years old.
Scheffner said he is particularly concerned about communities of color, where coronoviruses have already caused an odd amount of disease and death.
“We really want to extend influenza vaccination to communities of color and lower socio-economic areas, and those communities have been traditionally wary of vaccines. They are not anti-vaccine – this is a separate group – they Not yet as confident about the merits of vaccination. They are hard to reach, ”said Scheffner.
The National Foundation for Infectious Diseases and other organizations are starting to get the word out to encourage people to accept flu vaccination, he says.
“We aspire to reach those communities of color and underline minorities with even greater intensity, but we are not wholly smarter about doing so, unfortunately,” Scheffner said.