Wednesday, April 28, 2021

COVID-19 Struck; Flu Went Down

 4/22/21 New York Times:


“We do not know when it will come back in the United States, but we know it will come back,” said Sonja Olsen, an epidemiologist at the C.D.C.

Experts are less certain about what will happen when the flu does return. In the coming months — as millions of people return to public transit, restaurants, schools and offices — influenza outbreaks could be more widespread than normal, they say, or could occur at unusual times of the year. But it’s also possible that the virus that returns is less dangerous, having not had the opportunity to evolve while it was on hiatus.

“We don’t really have a clue,” said Richard Webby, a virologist at the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis. “We’re in uncharted territory. We haven’t had an influenza season this low, I think as long as we’ve been measuring it. So what the potential implications are is a bit unclear.”

Scientists do not yet know which public health measures were most effective in eradicating the flu this season, but if behaviors like mask-wearing and frequent hand-washing continue after the coronavirus pandemic is over, they could help to keep influenza at bay in the United States.

I cannot picture voluntary mask-wearing after the pandemic ends, but frequent handwashing, which seems to be more effective, and staying home when sick might be a good permanent change in our culture.  All those knowledge workers continuing to telecommute seems likely to stay.


  1. I would expect, given the rules regarding diagnoses of the Covid, and given that many flu diagnoses are not based on DNA analysis, that the missing flue diagnoses are covered by Covid diagnoses.

  2. With a graph like that, I really want someone to fact-check the flu stats.