NEW YORK (AP) — February is often the peak of flu season, with docs’ places of work and hospitals full of struggling sufferers. But not this yr.
Flu has nearly disappeared from the U.S., with studies coming in at far decrease ranges than something seen in a long time.
Experts say that measures put in place to fend off the coronavirus — masks carrying, social distancing and digital education — have been a giant think about stopping a “twindemic” of flu and COVID-19. A push to get extra individuals vaccinated towards flu most likely helped, too, as did fewer individuals touring, they are saying.
Flu-related hospitalizations, nevertheless, are a small fraction of the place they might stand throughout even a really delicate season, mentioned Brammer, who oversees the CDC’s monitoring of the virus.
Flu dying knowledge for the entire U.S. inhabitants is difficult to compile shortly, however CDC officers hold a working rely of deaths of youngsters. One pediatric flu dying has been reported up to now this season, in contrast with 92 reported on the similar level in final yr’s flu season.
“Many dad and mom will inform you that this yr their youngsters have been as wholesome as they’ve ever been, as a result of they’re not swimming within the germ pool at college or day care the identical manner they have been in prior years,” Mick mentioned.
Some docs say they’ve even stopped sending specimens for testing, as a result of they don’t suppose flu is current. Nevertheless, many labs are utilizing a CDC-developed “multiplex take a look at” that checks specimens for each the coronavirus and flu, Brammer mentioned.
More than 190 million flu vaccine doses have been distributed this season, however the variety of infections is so low that it’s tough for CDC to do its annual calculation of how effectively the vaccine is working, Brammer mentioned. There’s merely not sufficient knowledge, she mentioned.
That is also difficult the planning of subsequent season’s flu vaccine. Such work often begins with checking which flu strains are circulating around the globe and predicting which ones will possible predominate within the yr forward.
“But there’s not a number of (flu) viruses to take a look at,” Brammer mentioned.