As more than 28 million coronavirus cases have been confirmed in the US With 520,000 deaths over the course of the coronavirus pandemic, this year’s flu season has been virtually non-existent.
According to data From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), only 0.1 percent of samples tested nationwide are testing positive for influenza. That contrasts sharply with about 20 to 30 percent of the positive cases recorded during recent flu seasons.
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The CDC also reports that only one child in the US died from influenza this season, compared to 195 US children who died in total during the 2019-2020 influenza season.
There has also been a significant decrease in flu deaths among American adults, with about 450 flu-related deaths so far this year. Approximately 22,000 people died during the 2019-2020 flu season.
Public health experts say school closings, telecommuting, and precautions like hand washing, masking, and social distancing brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic have likely led to very low numbers of flu cases, deaths. and hospitalizations.
In December, the CDC said a record number of flu shots had been administered after public health officials urged the public to get a flu shot and warned of a “double-demise” of hospitals putting pressure on influenza and COVID-19.
“I think this has clearly shown that masking, distancing, hand washing – all of these things clearly work,” said Aaron Milstone, an epidemiologist and professor of pediatrics at Johns Hopkins University. The Washington Post. “So I think the question will be, how much appetite do people have for all of that to prevent influenza, rather than just COVID?”
Health officials cautioned, however, that the upcoming flu season may be unusually worse, as people will not be exposed to flu this year and more will be susceptible to infection.
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