Flu Cases are at a Record Low. Can We Keep it Up?
Every year, “Flu Season” coming around is as expected as flowers blooming in the Spring, or leaves falling in Autumn. We think of it as a guaranteed, natural, phenomenon. But this year’s reported number of flu cases has experts thinking: What if it doesn’t have to be that way?
In 2019, the CDC reported more than 65,000 cases of influenza in the US from September 29th to December 28th (the first half of flu season). During the same period in 2020, the agency reported just 1,016 cases. This drop occurred even despite a sixfold increase in testing this year (since most COVID-19 tests also test for influenza).
According to healthcare experts, there are several factors contributing to this dramatic decrease in cases. The most notable is an increase in influenza vaccinations, which are time and again recommended in fighting flu spread.
However, another contributing factor is that people have taken care of themselves and their communities differently this year. In previous years, most people normally didn’t take too many precautions against the flu because they didn’t see it as a very severe threat. This year, with the world’s attention on the severity of the coronavirus, people have incorporated sanitary practices into their daily routines, such as social distancing, frequent hand washing, and disinfecting.
While no one’s goal is to keep the world in its current state. But perhaps, if we keep up some of the easy-to-practice hygiene habits in future years, the severity of flu season can become a thing of the past.