Story at a glance

  • According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, just 0.1 percent of specimens tested across the country are coming back positive for influenza.
  • That stands in stark contrast with roughly 20 to 30 percent of positive cases recorded during recent flu seasons.
  • The CDC also reports that just one child in the U.S. has died due to flu this season, compared with 195 U.S. children who died in total during the 2019-2020 flu season.

As more than 28 million cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in the U.S. with 520,000 deaths over the course of the coronavirus pandemic, the flu season this year has been virtually nonexistent. 

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), just 0.1 percent of specimens tested across the country are coming back positive for influenza. That stands in stark contrast with roughly 20 to 30 percent of positive cases recorded during recent flu seasons. 


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The CDC also reports that just one child in the U.S. has died due to flu this season, compared with 195 U.S. children who died in total during the 2019-2020 flu season. 

There’s also been a significant decline in influenza deaths among U.S. adults, with about 450 flu-related deaths so far this year. Roughly 22,000 people died during the 2019-2020 flu season. 

Public health experts say school closures, remote work and precautions such as hand-washing, masking and social distancing prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic have likely led to the very low number of flu cases, deaths and hospitalizations. 

In December, the CDC said a record number of flu vaccinations had been administered after public health officials urged the public to get the flu shot and warned of a “twindemic” of both influenza and COVID-19 straining hospitals.

“I think this has clearly shown that masking, distancing, hand-washing — all these things clearly work,” Aaron Milstone, an epidemiologist and professor of pediatrics at Johns Hopkins University, told The Washington Post. “So I think the question will be, how much appetite do people have for all that to prevent influenza, instead of just COVID.”

Health officials have warned, however, that next flu season may be unusually worse, as people aren’t being exposed to influenza this year and more will be susceptible to becoming infected. 


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Published on Mar 05, 2021