Pennsylvania has its mildest flu season on record. With high flu vaccine rates and relief measures aimed at slowing the spread of covid-19, the number of influenza cases is low. Officials said on Friday.
flu season this year It officially ended May 22. There are 3,664 laboratory-confirmed cases nationwide, according to Ray Barishansky, deputy secretary for health and community protection.
This is a 95% reduction from the cumulative number of cases at the end of last year’s flu season.
“Last season was higher than usual. There are more than 130,900 influenza cases,” said Alison Beam, Acting Minister of Public Health.
This year, 21people have died from influenza in Pennsylvania. and 45 were hospitalized.
Barishansky compared this year’s mild flu season, as covid-19 spread concurrently with the 2015-16 flu season, where the H1N1 influenza virus was important.
Although both influenza A and influenza B are identified in all counties in Pennsylvania. But more than a third of counties have reported fewer than 10 flu cases this season. And influenza patients are still below the state epidemic threshold.
These low flu numbers come despite increased testing, Barishansky said.
“Nationwide, there are six times more testing in public health laboratories. Most of them test for influenza A and B together with covid-19. There is a decline in flu cases across the country,” he said.
The Department of Health and the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that health care providers test both virus patients who show symptoms consistent with influenza or covid-19 because of the testing recommendations. It is possible” influenza patients will be counted incorrectly in the case of covid-19 instead.
“The CDC recommends that health care professionals test people with covid-19-like symptoms for both influenza and covid-19 because it is impossible to differentiate between the two without testing and patients can have the virus. Both were able to get together,” he said.
He declined to provide information on the number of people tested for influenza compared to the number of people tested for COVID-19. It said that the numbers that were tested for infection could not be compared. due to covid-19 It is a new type of infectious disease.
One of the reasons this year’s flu levels have dropped is record-breaking vaccine exposure. As of February, the CDC reported that 193.8 million doses of the flu vaccine were distributed in the United States. Surpasses the previous record of 174.5 million flu vaccines in the 2019-20 flu season.
Measures aimed at curbing the spread of covid-19, such as wearing a mask. social distancing and increased cleaning and disinfection. Both contribute to the mild flu season, Barishansky said.
“Part of the flu activity is a testament to the efforts to mitigate COVID-19. powerful “It’s still preventing the flu,” he said, encouraging healthy habits such as covering your mouth and nose when sneezing, washing your hands often, and remembering a high level of disinfection.
“Practicing these healthy habits plus COVID-19 safety measures such as getting the COVID-19 vaccine, wearing a mask and responsible social distancing All of these factors are keeping our flu numbers low,” he said, urging Pennsylvanians to continue to emphasize the behavior.
Dr. Amesh Adalja, an infectious disease expert in Pittsburgh and senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, also pointed out measures to mitigate the coronavirus, which is causing the mild flu season. He noted the disruption of schooling for the children, which he said. “Tends to expand influenza” may help slow the spread of this year’s flu.
Although this year has highlighted measures such as masking during the covid-19 pandemic, Barishansky said he cannot predict whether it will prevail in future flu seasons.
“I cannot say whether we will be required to wear masks for the upcoming flu season,” he said. “I believe we have learned many lessons about public health action as we move forward.
“Some of these lessons include covering up when you have symptoms. Or it may cover up when you’re in a public place with symptoms. Wash your hands, use hand sanitizer. even social distancing in certain situations.”
Adalja said that although he predicted some of the behaviors people experienced during covid-19 would persist, it is impossible to say what the next flu season will be.
“I suspect that some of the behaviors people adopt for COVID will continue to be part of some people’s routines for the next flu season and will benefit,” he said. The next flu season is a bit of a mystery. This is because seasonal viruses spread at such low levels in both the northern and southern hemispheres. which is difficult to predict what will happen.”
Julia Felton is a screenwriter. Tribune-Review You can contact Julia at 724-226-7724, email@example.com or on Twitter.