We’re seeing less flu activity in the wake of COVID-19
Before COVID-19, Influenza was the virus making headlines every fall. This year however, we’re seeing unusually low flu activity at IHA, a 98% decline in positive cases in fact, but numbers are also much lower around the country according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
It’s not entirely a surprise to see flu numbers drop. People are staying home more, washing their hands, wearing masks and social distancing when they do go out. Since the flu virus spreads via respiratory droplets in a similar way to COVID-19, all the protections that are in place to help stop the spread of COVID-19 are helping to curtail the spread of influenza. People are also taking more precautions when they are symptomatic with an illness and staying home. Going to work or school sick, coughing or sneezing is a thing of the past.
It’s not just Michigan seeing a drop in cases of the flu, the CDC reports that seasonal flu activity is lower than usual this year nationally. Take a look at these flu activity maps for the same week January 2020 versus January 2021. Most states are reporting minimal cases of the flu this year, while last year it dominated the map.
Perhaps the biggest contributor to the decline of influenza this year has to do with children, who have been attending school virtually across much of the state and country or at least wearing masks, social distancing and washing hands while at school. Kids are catching the flu virus in smaller numbers and are not bringing it home to their parents and families like in past years.
Source: Centers for Disease Control (CDC)
The flu season is not over and it’s not too late to be vaccinated against the flu! A flu shot is recommended for everyone ages 6 months and older. According to the CDC, getting a flu vaccine will not protect against COVID-19, however flu vaccination has many other important benefits. Flu vaccines have been shown to reduce the risk of flu illness, hospitalization and death.
Contact your primary care practice to schedule a flu shot today.