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What happened to the coronavirus and influenza “twin demics”?Expert weighted

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When Coronavirus For the surge in cases at the end of summer, experts warned of the possibility of a so-called “twin demic”. They said they saw a hospital system that was overwhelmed by both the influx with COVID-19. influenza Patients never surged. actually, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)Reported that influenza activity in the United States “remains lower than normal at this time of the year.” This is usually the peak of the disease.

Since October 1, 2020, or the start of the flu season, 165 laboratories in the United States have confirmed influenza-related hospitalizations. According to the CDC Not only is this below average at this point in the season, but it is also the lowest rate seen since data collection began in 2005.

So why did the influenza virus lag behind the coronavirus? According to experts, this is due to a variety of factors, but mitigation measures implemented to stop the spread of COVID-19 may have played a major role.

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“The same phenomenon was discovered in the Southern Hemisphere last winter (the month opposite to us) and was thought to have been caused by a” non-pharmaceutical intervention “adopted to prevent the spread of COVID-19 – masks, shelters. “Social distance, frequent hand washing, avoiding indoor congestion,” Dr. Henry Miller, a former FDA employee and now senior researcher in health research at the Pacific Institute, told Fox News.

Early studies suggest that children are more likely to be infected with the flu virus than COVID-19, so school closures are likely to have had an impact, explains Dr. Abisola Olulade, a California family doctor. did.

Coronavirus mitigation measures, such as social distance and wearing masks, may have helped control the spread of the flu virus, experts said.

Coronavirus mitigation measures, such as social distance and wearing masks, may have helped control the spread of the flu virus, experts said.
(IStock)

“Influenza infection is more difficult than coronavirus infection,” Orrard told Fox News. “Mitigation measures have more limited ability to prevent people from becoming infected with COVID.”

Mr. Orrard said mitigation measures to reduce the number of influenza cases raise the interesting question of whether some will remain intact, such as the use of face masks in public places, after the pandemic is over.

“I can’t imagine the CDC not thinking about this, I think it made a huge difference,” she said.

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Olulade may also suggest that some of the coronaviruses have not been tested for influenza, but the positive rate for those who remain lower than normal is actually the spread of the virus in the community. Low, indicating that it is not a problem. What kind of test was done.

Dr. Eric Legome, chair of emergency medicine at Mount Sinai West and Mount Sinai Morningside, said this year not only did influenza activity decrease, but other common respiratory illnesses also decreased. Legome said the long incubation period, high infectivity, and lack of previous levels of immunity to the coronavirus were likely to have contributed to the surge in cases, while the activity of other diseases was low. It was.

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“It’s hard to predict what will happen to the flu and other seasonal viruses next year (or any year, and especially next year),” Legome told Fox News. “Current interventions such as masking may be required for a long period of time. This may help prolong the relief of respiratory illness. However, if these measures are reduced or eliminated, it will be significant. Problems can occur. These infections increase beyond the past number, which means that factors such as increased susceptibility to some of these diseases can lead to unusually severe cold and flu seasons. May be seen. “

Miller said the strength of the flu virus next year will be a matter of probability and it is impossible to predict whether dangerous mutants (those that cause new infections) will emerge. Vaccines developed for next year may also affect the flow of the season, but due to the small number of strains distributed this season, it can be difficult to come up with the right formula.

Click here for the full coverage of the coronavirus

“We determine the vaccine strain based on what is happening in the Southern Hemisphere,” Olulade continued. “If you don’t have enough information, would you choose the right strain for your vaccine? And you don’t want to hesitate about your vaccine. It will decrease, even if it’s not completely defensive. [the] Virus strength. “

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