Michigan Association of Health Plans

What happened to flu season amid COVID pandemic?

After fears about a twindemic — with the coronavirus pandemic taking place during flu season — the flu has virtually disappeared altogether this year.

In 2020, the coronavirus pandemic began during flu season, which created an added challenge for doctors and hospitals. There were fears that we would face a similar situation this winter: a twindemic of flu and COVID-19. But that’s not what is happening.

Physician and epidemiologist Dr. Arnold Monto generally spends his winters studying flu trends at the University of Michigan School of Public Health. But this year, he says that the University Hospital hasn’t seen any cases of the flu this entire winter season.

Compared to last year, at this point in 2020, the flu was at high or moderate levels in most states. This year, cases are minimal in every state.

The Michigan Health Department labs have reported only five positive flu tests this entire flu season.

It was the same situation in Australia last summer.

“The southern hemisphere during their winter, which, was our summer, didn’t see anything,” Monto said. “We wondered, were they looking hard enough? Since everyone was concentrated on COVID, were they forgetting to look for the flu?”

It turns out, wearing face masks and other COVID-19 precautions taken are likely a major reason behind the dramatic drop in flu cases.

“We think it may be the viruses interfering with each other,” Monto said. “There’s only place for one. And also, because of the community strategies — wearing a face mask, social distancing — we haven’t seen flu transmission.”

This article originally appeared in ClickonDetroit, read more here.