Monday, February 15, 2021

The COVID-19 precautions we're taking appear to be having a second effect: Cases of flu are almost nonexistent

From JSOnline:
Mark Johnson
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Wisconsin had 1,215 hospitalizations from flu and 26 deaths by this point last year.

This year?

Just 11 flu hospitalizations and no deaths.

At a time when the nation is weary from a year of pandemic, when U.S. deaths from COVID-19 are still averaging well over 2,000 a day, the lack of influenza hospitalizations and fatalities has been a welcome relief.

Hospital workers have not had to divert staff from treating patients with COVID-19 to treat others with severe influenza.

"I think it is surprising. We didn't think we'd see quite the absence of flu that we've seen," said Nasia Safdar, director of infection control at UW Health in Madison. "Obviously we are very happy about it."

By Feb. 10 last year, UW Health had recorded more than 1,183 positive flu tests; on the same date in 2021, the number stood at just one.

Across the U.S., the national flu numbers have been striking. 

The U.S. total of confirmed flu hospitalizations between Oct. 1, 2020, and Feb. 6, 2021, stands at 165. That's the lowest hospitalization rate for any season since routine data collection began in 2005.

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