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How Many Cases Of Flu In 2020

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Outpatient Respiratory Illness Visits By Age Group

‘A massive decrease’: Only three flu cases reported in Fayette County during 2020-2021 flu season

More than 70% of ILINet participants provide both the number of patient visits for respiratory illness and the total number of patient visits for the week broken out by age group. Data from this subset of providers are used to calculate the percentages of patient visits for respiratory illness by age group.

The percentage of visits for respiratory illness reported in ILINet are trending upward for all age groups .

* Effective October 3, 2021 , the ILI definition no longer includes without a known cause other than influenza.

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About The Fluwatch Annual Report

FluWatch is Canada’s national surveillance system that monitors the spread of the flu and other flu-like illnesses on an ongoing basis using data supplied to the FluWatch program from its pan-Canadian network of labs, hospitals, doctor’s offices, individual Canadians and provincial and territorial ministries of health.

FluWatch reports are based on weekly data that are published throughout the influenza surveillance season which goes from epidemiological week 35 to 34 of the following year. This annual report is a summary of Canada’s 2019-2020 influenza season and provides a comparison of core surveillance indicators to those observed in the previous five seasons.

We Need To Be Vigilant Going Into The Next Flu Season

We dont need lockdowns to mitigate future flu seasons. They would be too burdensome and an excessive response in a typical flu season.

But still, well need a good deal of vigilance, particularly next flu season. Scientists arent exactly sure how the flu will evolve in response to this weird new environment.

We have no idea how obliterating the flu for an entire year affects its evolution, Kissler says. That might make it harder for vaccine developers to pick the right strains for next years vaccines. We dont know if its going to be easier to predict next years flu strain, because it hasnt been spreading as much. Or if its going to be a lot harder, because its gone through this really tight what we call an evolutionary bottleneck.

Heres what we do know: We can beat back the flu with our behavior. Covid-19, in part, has shown us how to do it, Kissler says.

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Flu Surveillance Data Updates

Were there any updates in the methods for flu surveillance for 2020-2021?

For the 2020-2021 flu season, there were some changes to FluView surveillance methodology.

In addition to state-level data, the influenza-like-illness activity map displayed ILI activity by Core-based Statistical Areas , a U.S. geographic area defined by the Office of Management and Budget that consists of one or more counties anchored by an urban center of at least 10,000 people plus adjacent counties that are socioeconomically tied to the urban center by commuting.

Also, during most flu seasons, state and territorial health departments report the level of geographic spread of flu activity in their jurisdictions each week through the State and Territorial Epidemiologists Report. However, because COVID-19 and influenza have similar symptoms and it is difficult to differentiate the two without laboratory testing, reporting for this system was suspended for the 2020-21 influenza season.

More information on flu surveillance methodology and these updates is available online.

Why was pneumonia, influenza, and COVID-19 mortality data added to FluView Interactive?

Outpatient Respiratory Illness Visits

WA flu deaths double within a week as influenza disease ...

Nationwide, during week 49, 2.7% of patient visits reported through ILINet were due to respiratory illness that included fever plus a cough or sore throat, also referred to as ILI. This percentage is above the national baseline. Regions 1, 2, 3, 4, and 7 are above their region-specific baselines all other regions are below their baselines. Multiple respiratory viruses are co-circulating, and the relative contribution of influenza virus infection to ILI can vary by location.

* Effective October 3, 2021 , the ILI definition no longer includes without a known cause other than influenza.

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Testing And Treatment Of Respiratory Illness When Sars

While waiting on results of testing, sick non-hospitalized persons with respiratory symptoms should self-isolate at home. Even if people test negative for both viruses, they should self-isolate because of the potential for false negative testing results depending upon what kind of test was done and the level of SARS-CoV-2 and influenza transmission in the community. Persons not hospitalized but who are at high-risk for complications from influenza should get antiviral treatment for influenza as soon as possible.

For hospitalized patients, empiric oseltamivir treatment for suspected influenza should be started as soon as possible regardless of illness duration, without waiting for influenza testing results. Get more information on testing and treatment when SARS-CoV-2 and influenza viruses are co-circulating.

CDC has developed clinical algorithms that can help guide decisions for influenza testing and treatment when SARS-CoV-2 and influenza viruses are co-circulating.

Influenza antiviral medications have no activity against SARS-CoV-2 viruses, nor do they interact with medications used for treatment of COVID-19 patients. If a patient who is at high risk for serious influenza complications is diagnosed with SARS-CoV-2 and influenza virus co-infection, they should receive influenza antiviral treatment.

The Flu Season That Wasnt

This flu season, more or less, hasnt really happened. Its not entirely a surprise: During the southern hemispheres flu season last year cases and deaths also fell.

That said, researchers didnt take it for granted that the flu wouldnt spread this winter.

Up until a couple of weeks ago, I didnt feel like we were out of the woods yet, Shweta Bansal, a Georgetown University epidemiologist and biologist says. But now that its February typically when the flu season peaks in the US she feels like a wave of flu just isnt coming. And its not just the flu: Other respiratory viruses, with the exception of rhinoviruses, have fallen dramatically as well.

This is a huge relief: Earlier in the pandemic, scientists were very worried about the strain on our health care systems if the flu was circulating on a large scale alongside Covid-19. The quiet flu season means there are more hospital beds and equipment available for Covid-19 patients, and the health care workers treating those patients are less strained than during a typical flu year.

Researchers dont think the steep declines are due to more people getting flu vaccines this year. The vaccination is helping, but theres absolutely no way that increased vaccination on its own is responsible for this, Stephen Kissler, an epidemiologist at Harvard says. Yes, flu vaccine uptake is up , but its not enough to explain what happened to the flu.

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Table : Estimated Influenza Disease Burden By Season United States 2010

Symptomatic Illnesses

* Estimates from the 2017-2018, 2018-2019, and 2019-2020 seasons are preliminary and may change as data are finalized.

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Administering Flu Vaccines During The Covid

Major decrease in flu cases during 2020-2021 season

CDC has released Interim Guidance for Immunization Services During the COVID-19 Pandemic. This guidance is intended to help immunization providers in a variety of clinical and alternative settings with the safe administration of vaccines during the COVID-19 pandemic. This guidance will be continually reassessed and updated based on the evolving epidemiology of COVID-19 in the United States. Healthcare providers who give vaccines should also consult guidance from state, local, tribal, and territorial health officials.

  • If healthcare providers wear gloves when administering vaccine, they should change their gloves and wash their hands between patients.
  • For patients presenting for care or routine visits, ensure physical distancing by implementing strategies, such as:
  • Reduce crowding in waiting areas by asking patients to remain outside until they are called into the facility for their appointment.
  • Ensure that physical distancing measures, with separation of at least 6 feet between patients and visitors, are maintained during all aspects of the visit, including check-in, checkout, screening procedures, and postvaccination monitoring. Use strategies such as physical barriers, signs, ropes, and floor markings.
  • Use electronic communications as much as possible to minimize patients time in the office as well as their sharing of materials .
  • Information about coadministration of COVID-19 and other vaccines is available. .

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    Well Learn More About Flu Transmission As Society Returns To Normal

    Scientists dont know, precisely, which Covid-19 public health steps are contributing most to the drop in flu cases. But they have suspicions. It is the lack of travel, the school closures, and the distancing and masking that are making the biggest difference, says Helen Chu, a physician and epidemiologist at the University of Washington who studies the flu.

    Its hard to definitively say which contributes the most. The flu disproportionately makes children sick or puts them in the hospital, and so things like school closures have a greater effect on flu than they would for SARS-CoV-2, Chu says.

    But then, I cant imagine school closures are doing most of it, because so many places have managed to keep schools open and they still dont have flu: Australia, for example. They still kept the schools open, and they had no flu.

    While scientists dont currently know how much each intervention is contributing to the drop in flu this year, they see opportunities to learn more.

    I hope somebody is going to look at this across the United States and try to tease this out by state, because there are so many regional differences in the uptake of masking and social distancing, and school closures, Chu says. Perhaps those differences in policy and behavior can be correlated with cold or flu outcomes to better understand what worked.

    So scientists can potentially see which restrictions and behavior changes lead to a higher resurgence in respiratory viruses.

    Final Flu Season Metrics 2020/21

    Each flu season, the CDC tracks a few important metrics that help tell the story of how severe the current flu season is compared to previous seasons. Here are a few numbers to sum up the 2020/2021 flu season, running from October 1, 2020 to April 1, 2021.

    Mortality – The PIC mortality rate is the rate of deaths attributed to pneumonia, influenza, or COVID-19. This year, the majority of PIC deaths were due to COVID-19. 646 deaths were attributed to the flu.

    Pediatric Deaths – Pediatric deaths are the number of deaths of people under the age of 18. In 2019/20, there were 195 pediatric deaths. There was one pediatric death during the 2020/21 season.

    Flu Season Resource Guide

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    Healthcare Practitioners Sentinel Syndromic Surveillance

    During the 2019-2020 season, an average of 89 healthcare practitioners/centres across the country participated each week in influenza-like illness surveillance for the FluWatch program . On a weekly basis, these sentinel healthcare practitioners report the proportion of patients in their practice who had ILI based on the FluWatch definition:

    Sudden onset of flu symptoms with fever and cough and with one or more of the following: sore throat, joint pain, muscle aches, or fatigue which is likely due to the flu.

    • Children younger than 5 years old might also have symptoms like nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
    • Patients younger than 5 years old or 65 and older might not have a fever.
    • Overall, ILI activity was below the five-year average for the majority of weeks this influenza season.
    • During active influenza season , 1.4% of all patient visits reported by sentinels were due to ILI.
    • The percentage of visits for ILI reported by sentinels peaked at the start of January at 2.9%.
    • For the majority of the season, the highest percentage of visits for ILI was reported among those less than 20 years of age. The lowest percentage of visits for ILI was reported among adults 65 years of age and older.

    Figure 5: Percentage of visits for ILI reported by sentinels by week, Canada, season 2019-2020

    The shaded area represents the maximum and minimum percentage of visits for ILI reported by week from seasons 2013-2014 to 2018-2019


    Getting A Flu Vaccine During The Covid

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    Yes. Getting a flu vaccine is an essential part of protecting your health and your familys health this season. To protect your health when getting a flu vaccine, follow CDCs recommendations for running essential errands and doctor visits. Continue to take everyday preventive actions.

    When going to get a flu vaccine, practice everyday preventive actions and follow CDC recommendations for running essential errands.

    Ask your doctor, pharmacist, or health department if they are following CDCs vaccination pandemic guidance. Any vaccination location following CDCs guidance should be a safe place for you to get a flu vaccine.

    You can safely get a flu vaccine at multiple locations including your doctors office, health departments, and pharmacies. You can use VaccineFinder.orgexternal iconexternal icon to find where flu vaccines are available near you. When going to get a flu vaccine, be sure to practice everyday preventive actions.

    Ask your doctor, pharmacist, or health department if they are following CDCs vaccination pandemic guidance. Any vaccination location following CDCs guidance should be a safe place for you to get a flu vaccine.

    Vaccination of people at high risk for flu complications is especially important to decrease their risk of severe flu illness. Many people at higher risk from flu also seem to be at higher risk from COVID-19. If you are at high risk, it is especially important for you to get a flu vaccine this year.

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    How To Protect Yourself From The Flu

    If you havent already gotten your flu shot, Dr. Schaffner recommends doing it ASAP, as it takes time to build immunity. Flu season continues through May, after all. Its still not too late to get vaccinated, he says.

    The following precautions can also protect you from the flu:

    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
    • If soap and water arent available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
    • Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces and objects.

    Methods that help prevent the spread of COVID-19, like wearing a mask when youre around people who arent in your household and practicing social distancing, can also help you prevent a cold, flu, and other respiratory illnesses. The flus impact on deaths in the U.S. may well be blunted by our behaviors in trying to avoid COVID-19, Dr. Schaffner says.

    Go here to join Prevention Premium , subscribe to the magazine, or get digital-only access.

    How Severe Will The Upcoming 2021

    It’s far too soon to say, but experts are still worried about what could happen. “We’re mildly terrified about how things could unfold with flu season this year,”James H. Conway, MD, FAAP, a pediatric infectious disease specialist and associate director for health sciences at the Global Health Institute of UW-Madison, tells Health.

    This is for a few reasons. First: Australiawhich has its winter and flu season during summertime in the USdidn’t have a flu season this year. While that could be good news for a less severe season in the US, it also spells trouble for vaccine formulation. “Usually when the powers that be are trying to figure out which strains to put in the vaccine, they are basing it on what circulated in the southern hemisphere during summer,” says Dr. Conway. “They didn’t have any flu season, so the powers that be couldn’t figure out prevalent flu strains.”

    The low numbers of flu cases last year could also negatively impact this year’s flu season. With lower-than-usual rates of both flu vaccinations and flu cases, the US population is “relatively immunologically naive,” says Dr. Conwaythat means we don’t have any leftover immunity from last flu season. Pair that with more people going out into public more often with lessening mask restrictions, and it could lead to a potentially more severe flu season than last year.

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    Flu Vaccines During The Covid

    Did we need to get a flu vaccine earlier during the 2020-2021 flu season ?

    There was no change in CDCs recommendation on timing of vaccination last flu season. Getting vaccinated in July or August is too early, especially for older people, because of the likelihood of reduced protection against flu later in the flu season. September and October are good times to get vaccinated. However, as long as flu viruses are circulating, vaccination should continue, even in January or later.

    More information for vaccination timing for the 2020-2021 flu season

    Were there changes in how and where flu vaccines were given in fall and winter or 2020-2021?

    Prior to the 2020-2021 flu season, CDC worked with health care providers and state and local health departments to develop contingency plans on how to vaccinate people against flu without increasing their risk of exposure to respiratory disease, like the virus that causes COVID-19. This included releasing Interim Guidance for Immunization Services During the COVID-19 Pandemic. Preliminary coverage data from September 2020 suggest there were some changes in where people got vaccinated early in 2020-2021. For example, the proportion of people reporting getting a flu vaccination at a store was significantly higher than the equivalent proportion for the 201920 season , and the proportion reporting vaccination at a doctors office was significantly lower than 201920 .

    This recommendation has since been .

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