According to a new report, the flu has practically vanished from the United States.
“Flu has virtually disappeared from the U.S., with reports coming in at far lower levels than anything seen in decades,” AP reported on Thursday, adding, “Experts say that measures put in place to fend off the coronavirus — mask wearing, social distancing and virtual schooling — were a big factor in preventing a ‘twindemic‘ of flu and COVID-19. A push to get more people vaccinated against flu probably helped, too, as did fewer people traveling, they say.”
“Flu season typically peaks between December and February each year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that the flu causes up to 45 million illnesses, up to 810,000 hospitalizations and up to 61,000 deaths each year. But this flu season, there have been just 925 cases of the flu around the U.S so far,” Johns Hopkins Medicine reported.
“Flu season typically runs through May, so there’s still a chance that flu cases will pick up in the next few months. Also, one strain of flu — influenza B — tends to circulate later in the season,” the organization pointed out.
“This year has been incredibly different. Probably not seen before for 100 years,” Beth Daly, the Chief of the N.H Bureau of Infectious Disease Control, stated. “Normally, there’s literally thousands of people who get influenza. On an average week in the winter, 10% of all people dying, are dying from influenza. So, this year is very remarkable.”
AP suggests that it is also possible that “the coronavirus has essentially muscled aside flu and other bugs that are more common in the fall and winter.”
Lynnette Brammer of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention acknowledged, “This is the lowest flu season we’ve had on record.”
AP noted that only one pediatric flu death has been reported so far this season, while 92 were reported at the same point last year.
The World Health Organization reported on February 15:
Globally, despite continued or even increased testing for influenza in some countries, influenza activity remained at lower levels than expected for this time of the year.
In the temperate zone of the northern hemisphere, influenza activity remained below baseline, though sporadic detections of influenza A and B viruses were reported in some countries.
In the temperate zone of the southern hemisphere, influenza activity was reported at inter-seasonal level.
In the Caribbean and Central American countries, no influenza detections were reported. Severe acute respiratory infection (SARI) activity increased in some reporting country.
In tropical South America, there were no influenza detections reported in this period.
In tropical Africa, influenza activity continued to be reported in Western Africa.
In Southern Asia, sporadic influenza detections were reported across reporting countries.
In South East Asia, influenza detections were reported in Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR).
Worldwide, influenza B detections accounted for the majority of the very low numbers of detections reported.