The sample in North America adopted an especially quiet flu season the Southern Hemisphere. The U.S. usually seems to be to international locations like Australia for a glimpse at what is perhaps coming to our shores. Medical doctors say they’re past relieved that we didn’t see flu distress on prime of the winter COVID-19 surge.
“The query is why, and the reply is fairly fascinating,” Bogoch says.
First, he says, there are the precautions individuals have been taking for COVID, like masking, social distancing, and frequent hand-washing. Positive, not everyone is doing this stuff, however many are. “I don’t assume we will ignore that,” he says.
Secondly, many individuals appear to have heeded public well being recommendation to get a flu vaccine.
“No less than in Canada, there was huge uptake of the flu vaccine this yr,” Bogoch says.
Official numbers on vaccination charges for this yr’s flu season aren’t but out there for the U.S., however to date, the CDC says nearly 194 million doses of flu vaccine have been distributed. That’s one other file, topping final yr’s distribution by about 20 million doses. Distribution isn’t the identical because the variety of photographs going into arms, so it stays to be seen whether or not excessive vaccination protection could have performed an vital position in tamping down the flu right here.
Bogoch additionally factors to much less worldwide journey as a cause the flu wasn’t a giant deal.
“That is an an infection that that follows mobility patterns as nicely,” he says, “and there is simply remarkably much less human mobility this yr.”
Maybe the most important cause for the disappearance of the flu this yr has to do with youngsters.
“Youngsters are the good distributors of the influenza virus in our society,” Schaffner says.
Youngsters shed flu virus for longer than adults do, and so they shed it a day or two earlier than they present any signs, says Jennifer Nayak, MD, a pediatric infectious illness specialist on the College of Rochester Medical Faculty. She has studied the life cycle of flu infections in youngsters.
“As we’ve discovered the laborious method, with COVID, shedding virus earlier than you might be symptomatic makes it actually, actually laborious to include an an infection,” she says.