Amid Covid-19 pandemic, flu has disappeared in the US

Amid COVID-19 pandemic, flu has disappeared in the US
Source: AP
2 Min Read

Daily US Times: February is usually the peak of flu season in the US, with hospitals and doctors’ offices packed with suffering patients. But not this year.

Flu has virtually disappeared from the United States, with reports coming in at far lower levels than anything seen in decades.

Experts say that measures put in place to fend off the Covid-19 — social distancing, mask wearing and virtual schooling — were a big factor in preventing a “twindemic” of flu and coronavirus. A push to get more people vaccinated against flu probably helped, according to experts, as did fewer people traveling.

Another possible explanation: The Covid-19 has essentially muscled aside flu and other bugs that are more common in the winter and fall. Scientists do not fully understand the mechanism behind that, but Dr. Arnold Monto, an expert at the University of Michigan, said it would be consistent with patterns seen when certain strains predominate over others.

Nationally, “this is the lowest flu season we have had on record,” according to a surveillance system that is about 25 years old.

Hospitals say the usual steady stream of flu-stricken patients never materialized.

At Maine Medical Center in Portland, which is the state’s largest hospital, “I have seen zero documented cases this winter,” said the head of the emergency department Dr. Nate Mick.s

Ditto in Oregon’s capital city, where the outpatient respiratory clinics affiliated with Salem Hospital have not seen any confirmed cases.

Some doctors say they have even stopped sending specimens for testing

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