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Amazing! No flu season for the first time in history!

Discussion in 'News & Current Events' started by Wingman68, Feb 26, 2021.

  1. Wingman68

    Wingman68 Well-Known Member
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    We wiped out the flu this year. Could we do it again?
    The promise and peril of this year’s missing flu season.

    The sum of all our mask-wearing, distancing, business closures, and other, however imperfect, precautions haven’t been enough to stop the Covid-19 pandemic in its tracks. But there’s a silver lining: It has been enough to virtually wipe out the flu this season.

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that as of January 30, there have been just 1,316 positive flu cases in its clinical surveillance network since September. Around this time last year, it had logged 129,997 positive flu cases in the same time frame.

    Some of the drop may be because people aren’t going in and getting tested for the flu, or they’re staying home fearing their symptoms might be a Covid-19 infection. But researchers think the decline in actual cases is real and steep.

    It’s not just confirmed cases that are down. The CDC’s syndromic surveillance system — which tries to track the disease based on people showing up to clinics with symptoms — is showing historically low levels of the flu.

    Last flu season, the CDC estimated the virus was responsible for “38 million illnesses, 18 million medical visits, 405,000 hospitalizations, and 22,000 deaths.”

    The flu trends of this year mean “we have found a way to potentially decrease tens of thousands of deaths each year,” Seema Lakdawala, a flu researcher at the University of Pittsburgh says.


    This news contains both a silver lining and a warning.

    The good news is that we’ve seen how effective our collective behavior can be in diminishing the burden of the flu. And because of this experience, we may be more prepared to stop a future flu pandemic dead in its tracks.

    The warning: Since people aren’t getting the flu this year, that means more people will be susceptible to catching it next year. Kids are especially vulnerable to catching the flu, and next year there will be more children than ever who have never gotten the flu in their lives. This will also make them more likely to spread it. Some adults might also be more vulnerable to get sick with the flu next year. Immunological memory of the virus fades over time, and by the time the next flu season begins, it will have been a year since many adults last received a flu shot.

    The flu season that wasn’t

    This is a huge relief: Earlier in the pandemic, scientists were very worried about the strain on our health care systems if the flu was circulating on a large scale alongside Covid-19. The quiet flu season means there are more hospital beds and equipment available for Covid-19 patients, and the health care workers treating those patients are less strained than during a typical flu year.

    Researchers don’t think the steep declines are due to more people getting flu vaccines this year. “The vaccination is helping, but there’s absolutely no way that increased vaccination on its own is responsible for this,” Stephen Kissler, an epidemiologist at Harvard says. Yes, flu vaccine uptake is up (around 15.5 million more doses), but it’s not enough to explain what happened to the flu. (The flu is also more commonly spread from contaminated surfaces. So routine surface cleanings may be hygiene theater when it comes to Covid-19, but it could be helping out when it comes to the flu.)

    What is responsible? “As far as I can tell, the most consistent explanation is simply that wearing masks and distancing has really done it,” Kissler says.

    Why the flu was defeated, but not Covid-19
    How could mask-wearing and distancing bring the flu to a halt, while Covid-19 rages on?

    It goes back to something scientists were saying at the beginning of the pandemic: Covid-19 is way, way worse than the seasonal flu because it’s more contagious.

    Scientists describe the contagiousness of a disease with a figure called R0 (pronounced r-naught). The number describes, on average, how many new cases each case of a disease goes on to generate. For the seasonal flu, the R0 is between 1 and 2. For Covid-19, it’s more likely between 2 and 3, if not a little higher.

    Our collective actions have brought the effective R number for Covid-19 down to a little more than 1. As long as the R number is greater than 1, the virus will keep spreading. But, when it comes to the flu, all that collective action has indeed brought the effective R for the flu below 1.


    To Kissler, this is textbook epidemiology: “Anything that is less contagious [than Covid], but that spreads in a similar way, is going to be brought well below that R threshold of 1, and it’s just going to be wiped out.”


    We’ll learn more about flu transmission as society returns to normal
    Scientists don’t know, precisely, which Covid-19 public health steps are contributing most to the drop in flu cases. But they have suspicions. “It is the lack of travel, the school closures, and the distancing and masking that are making the biggest difference,” says Helen Chu, a physician and epidemiologist at the University of Washington who studies the flu.

    But then, “I can’t imagine school closures are doing most of it, because so many places have managed to keep schools open and they still don’t have flu: Australia, for example. They still kept the schools open, and they had no flu.”

    We might even want to be more cautious during flu season and wear masks around others regardless. “Wearing masks in the wintertime, I think it’s something that might be here to stay,” Kissler says. Overall, there should be a greater acceptance of wearing masks in public, so it won’t be as likely to attract stares or confusion.

    Schools could also use remote learning more judiciously. If a district notes a flu outbreak in its schools, they could temporarily shift to remote learning to avoid a larger outbreak in the community.

    All of these actions should come on top of making sure as many people as possible get flu shots. The shots are typically only 40 to 60 percent effective at preventing someone from developing flu symptoms, so even if everyone got vaccinated every year (and typically only about half of Americans do), we should still enlist the new lessons we’ve learned.

    Notice how they use fear, next flu season could be really bad. Notice how they push vaccinations, maybe more remote learning, continue wearing masks, if you’re compliant......maybe we won’t have to order you, you know, be good boys & girls & all of those who haven’t decided yet whether they are boys or girls.........So they call the flu covid, & take credit for killing the flu, due to the great lockdowns.
    Amazing thing is, none of the rest of the world got the flu this year either. Looks like a plan.
    [​IMG]
     
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  2. Scott Downey

    Scott Downey Well-Known Member

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    Covid is the 'flu' now. The flu will come back. Both are basically respiratory virus.

    What will be interesting is if covid will go away or be here till the end of time.

    I still have no interest in wearing a mask in the flu season like the writer says. I never got the flu or a flu shot.
     
  3. Yeshua1

    Yeshua1 Well-Known Member
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    Guess Covid killed the Flu!
     
  4. Alex2165

    Alex2165 Member

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    Spreading flu and corona virus is to deadly.

    So, someone who spread flu every year stop, and started spreading corona virus.

    Just wonder, what will coming next?
     
  5. Roy

    Roy <img src=/0710.gif>
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    The head of the Wuhan lab deserves a Nobel prize for eradicating the flu.
     
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  6. kyredneck

    kyredneck Well-Known Member
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    The Covid precautions killed the flu season. Period.
     
  7. Wingman68

    Wingman68 Well-Known Member
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    If the precautions killed the flu, why are the covid #’s not different between states with open policies vs states on extreme lockdown?
     
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  8. Yeshua1

    Yeshua1 Well-Known Member
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    The flu skilled killed as many off, just did not have media behind it as Covid has!
     
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