One fairly predictable side effect of the COVID-19 pandemic: cases of the flu are down drastically this year. From the Wall Street Journal:
Clinical laboratories tested 22,474 patient samples, mostly nasal swabs, for influenza during the week ended Dec. 5, and only 40, or 0.2%, came back positive, according to data from the CDC. During the same period last year, more than 11% of over 41,000 samples were positive.
The number of positive flu samples at U.S. public health labs is also lower than in years past, according to the CDC data. These labs are currently processing more patient samples than in previous years because of the explosion of testing for Covid-19...
In the Southern Hemisphere, Covid-19 precautions practically wiped out the flu this year, offering hope for a lighter flu season in the U.S. and Europe. It wasn’t certain whether the season in the U.S. would follow suit, but influenza’s spread in the country appears to be following a similar pattern.
Obviously, it isn’t sustainable to shut down our public gathering places every flu season, but hopefully this is the evidence we need to change our adjust our behavior in public, especially during flu season. In other words, maybe wearing masks, diligently washing our hands, and coming up with ways to greet each other besides shaking hands should become our cultural norm.