A December 27th report from the Associated Press bore a headline titled “Flu is making a comeback in the US after an unusual year off” which likely summed up a curious notion that many have likely dwelled upon during the era of the pandemic.
AP contributor Carla K. Johnson wrote that the “U.S. flu season has arrived on schedule after taking a year off” theorizing – like many pundits have over the past year – that the mysterious disappearance of the flu during 2020 must’ve been due to measures people were taking in response to COVID.
“Last year’s flu season was the lowest on record, likely because COVID-19 measures — school closures, distancing, masks and canceled travel — prevented the spread of influenza, or because the coronavirus somehow pushed aside other viruses.”
Lynnette Brammer tracks flu-like ailments for the CDC, and says that the country “is setting itself up to be more of a normal flu season” acknowledging that with the flu season also comes childhood deaths, saying it is “unfortunately what we would expect when flu activity picks up. It’s a sad reminder of how severe flu can be.”
With respect to the flu season from late 2020, or lack thereof, only one child death was attributed to the virus – a stark contrast from the 2019 and 2018 flu seasons where 199 children and 144 children passed away from the flu.
Washington, D.C., is reportedly experiencing the highest surge in flu activity currently, but New Mexico, Kansas, Indiana, New Jersey, Tennessee, Georgia, and North Dakota are also seeing their fair share of the virus spreading this season.
Brammer noted that the strain of flu circulating this season also appears to be significantly harsh, especially among the elderly and youthful populations, additionally noting that since the flu had a mysterious year off in late 2020, this novel element has posed challenges in planning the year’s vaccine.
Apparently, the strain making the rounds appears to be somewhat different than what the flu vaccine specifically targets, but Brammer emphasized that it’s “really too early to know” whether this will impede vaccine efficacy.
“We’ll have to see what the impact of these little changes. Flu vaccine is your best way to protect yourself against flu.”