Many countries in the southern part of the world have instead either recorded low levels of flu or public health experts in Australia, New Zealand and South America have spent tens of thousands of lives potentially offering a glimpse of hope . As winter approaches the Northern Hemisphere.
General practitioners in New Zealand have not detected a single influenza case since they began examining patients in June, health data show; Last year, 57% of the samples they took were positive.
Previous flu cases were detected in April by major hospitals in the country’s largest city of Auckland. “It’s amazing. There’s nothing there yet. Not influenza,” said Michael Baker, professor of public health at the University of Otago in Wellington.
New Zealand’s Kovid-19 rates are among the lowest in the world, but despite the epidemic, people in the country have experienced their healthiest cold months on record. “Our excess winter mortality has largely disappeared,” Baker said.
A tracking system that monitors the cohabitation of at least 30,000 people for influenza-like symptoms, as reported by 0.3% of New Zealanders who have a cough or fever in a few weeks during their winter, ten in the last few years The fold decreases.
The trend is across the Tasman Sea in Australia, where Kovid-19 restrictions have also reduced the deepest rate of flu and other respiratory crises. According to government data, more than 131,000 influenza cases were reported in the country during the peak months of July and August last year. In the same period this year, there were 315.
“There has been a drop in cases since March,” said Professor Ian Barr, deputy director of the World Health Organization’s collaboration center for reference and research on influenza in Melbourne.
Barr said more than 40 Australians have died this year, compared to more than 950 last year, and there have been no deaths for the past three to four months.
Even throughout South America and South Africa, where lockdown has been pungent or difficult to implement, and the Kovid-19 has spread widely and killed tens of thousands of people, flu rates are lower than historical rates. Is equal to – despite an increase in testing for it in the US, according to the Pan American Health Organization.
This apparent contradiction – Saras-COV-2 is rapidly increasing while influenza almost disappears – shows a significant difference between the two viruses. Baker said seasonal flu is no less deadly, but significantly less viral.
The population has a high immunity to seasonal influenza, whether obtained naturally or via vaccines, while travel restrictions introduced in March disrupted the normal migration of the virus from the northern hemisphere to the south.
As an unprecedented live experiment on a large population, it could offer some good news for countries in the Northern Hemisphere to be heading into their own flu season, such as Dryer Air and more indoors Kovid – 19 rates are expected to run. Even relatively less rigorous quarantines appear to be surprisingly powerful in suppressing influenza and other common respiratory diseases.
“You’ll still see a flu season, but I expect it to be much less intense,” Baker said. “Countries in the Northern Hemisphere, which are actively suppressing Kovid-19 to some extent, should get a lot of security. [from influenza] by doing this. ”
This could mean that more people are feared to have the flu strain in the coming years, not gaining any immunity this year, Barr said, though he said that if people kept their hands well Wearing masks in washed and crowded areas will reduce the risk significantly. Even after the epidemic subsided.
In a year that will be studied for decades by public health experts, it also points to new ways of fighting future influenza epidemics that some scientists consider inevitable.
“[Before,] It was thought that when a new influenza pandemic virus arrives, all you can do is fall down, you can’t stop it, ”he said. “We now know that if you had an epidemic flu virus of sufficient severity, you could take an eradication approach, or even an exclusion approach, as Taiwan has done with Kovid-19.”