Disappearing Act: Flu Cases at Historic Lows

What is normally the peak of the flu season in January and February came and went with nary a sniffle this year. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says this is the lowest flu season on record, with cases and hospitalizations almost non-existent. That's led to speculation that COVID-19 became the dominant virus this fall and winter, making it difficult for traditional flu bugs and viruses to spread. Other doctors believe many would-be flu cases instead ended up misdiagnosed (intentionally or unintentionally) as COVID cases.

KTRH Medical Expert Dr. Joe Galati believes there is a simpler and more obvious explanation. "We are washing our hands, we're staying inside, wearing masks, and we're not moving around the way we're accustomed to," he tells KTRH. "Realizing how the flu virus spreads, through droplet infection and close contact, it makes sense that the flu virus numbers are going to be down this year."

"The number of flu vaccinations that were administered this year were also at a record high," he continues. "So it's the one-two punch of better hygiene and higher rates of vaccination."

If that is true, than the silver lining to this pandemic could be that we've learned how to prevent the flu in the future. "Good hygiene with your hands, masks, and social distancing works, there's no doubt about it," says Dr. Galati. "It works for Corona, it works for flu."

Listen to Your Health With Dr. Joe Galati Sundays at 7pm on Newsradio 740 KTRH.

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