COVID-19 Indirect Effects on the Flu Season


Ayden Nguyen, Writer

Around early February, the Flu would normally be infecting thousands of people. Yet this year, there have been very few cases of the Flu. According to the CDC last year, there have been hundreds of thousands of people who have been hospitalized by the Flu. This year, there have only been 155 people who have been hospitalized. Additionally, there were 78 child deaths last year while there has only been 1 pediatric death. Why is this?


A possible answer would be because the precautions Americans are taking to prevent the Coronavirus also prevents the Flu. Coronavirus is the general name for respiratory viruses, including COVID-19 and the Flu virus. This means that these two viruses spread in very similar ways like when people touch surfaces or particles released into the air when you talk, cough, sneeze, or breathe. When these particles are in the air, people could easily pick them up and contract the virus. The CDC says that, “It is likely that measures taken to slow or prevent spread of SARS-CoV-2[COVID-19] have had an impact on the spread of other pathogens, including influenza [the Flu]. Measures, including extensive reductions in global travel, teleworking, school closures, social distancing, and face mask use may have played a role.”


Although there has been less of the Flu, that does not mean you should not get vaccinated. Only half of the people who should get vaccinated actually do. If they did get vaccinated, the number of people who have been hospitalized would likely be lower. People are most likely scared to receive the vaccine from medical clinics this year because of the Coronavirus or they don’t want to stress the hospital staff.


The lowered Flu cases are actually a good thing for doctors. They were afraid that both the Coronavirus and the Flu would be circulating over the winter. People could now contract two viruses at once which would be very serious. And, if there were more hospitalized Flu patients, hospital staff would be put under even more pressure.


The Flu is also very unpredictable. The statistics vary over different years. The number of cases can be 9.3-45 million people a year. It can kill 12-61 thousand people and puts 140-810 thousand people into the hospital. Additionally, the Flu season can start as early as September or as late as January. Sometimes, there can be one wave at one time and then a second wave later on. The second wave can come as late as April.


Countries that have eased the necessary restrictions now tend to have more Flu activity. The Flu is around all year, when you ease the restrictions the Flu will start to come back. The best thing to do is to not forget that after the Coronavirus, there is still the Flu that will start to come back.


Source: /2021/02/09/health/coronavirus-flu-spread-cdc-wellness/index.html