KSHB 41: Flu numbers far below normal during pandemic
By Dan Cohen
Doctors feared what they called a "twindemic" in 2020 and into 2021 - trying to contain the possibility that two viruses would circulate throughout the United States during flu season, which runs from October to October, according to the CDC.
"We were worried last summer and last fall going into this, not knowing what the winter would hold for us and so that was why physicians were really trying to make sure that people were getting vaccinated doing everything that we could to prepare for flu season," said Dr. Jennifer Schuster, a pediatric infectious diseases physician with Children's Mercy in Kansas City. "Because we did not want flu and the virus that causes COVID-19 circulating at the same time, we know our hospitals have been stretched incredibly thin with COVID-19 patients and so then to add flu on top of it, which in a normal year will stretch our hospitals during the winter, having both of those happen at the same time would have been really really scary."
This month, Children's Mercy had reported zero flu cases this season, compared to 7,323 flu cases last season and 3,402 flu cases the flu season before that.
Doctors are thrilled with the unexpected outcome.
"We know that influenza vaccines are highly effective at preventing influenza, they're actually the best measure that we have at preventing influenza," she said.
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Learn more about Infectious Diseases at Children's Mercy