The number of people who caught the flu (influenza) in the United States last spring was historically low, even during the COVID-19 pandemic. By April 2020, the positive rate for influenza dropped to nearly zero; in years past, the positive rate has been around 15% in April. In the Southern hemisphere during their winter season, the numbers also show a reduced flu season. Australia, Chile, and South Africa all reported very few positive specimens (0.06%) during April-July compared to 13.7% in 2019. We know that the flu is less contagious than SARS-CoV-2 which causes COVID-19. As a result, community measures such as school closures, social distancing, and mask wearing likely lowered the spread of flu. If these same measures continue through the fall here in the United States, this could also keep influenza down this winter. Regardless, because this is not absolutely certain, flu vaccination still makes sense this year.
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