Coronavirus blocking, social distancing and masks cut US FLU rates by nearly 90%, CDC report reveals
- The percentage of positive flu tests decreased from about 20% between September 2019 and February 2020 to 2.3% between March 2020 and May 2020
- Laboratory specimens for testing fell from 49,696 a week before the national emergency was declared to Dfl 19,537 a week after the declaration
- The summer flu circulation in the US is at an all-time low of around 0.20%, up from 2.35% last year
- Researchers say this is due to measures to contain the coronavirus, such as lockdowns, mandatory mask mandates and social distancing
Flu cases fell by nearly 90 percent in the US amid lockdowns, social aloofness and mask wearing as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, a new report reveals.
The percentage of positive flu studies dropped from about 20 percent between September 2019 and February 2020 to 2.3 percent between March 2020 and May 2020.
The results also show that the number of samples sent to labs decreased by more than 60 percent as families are accommodated with adults who telecommute and children learn remotely.
Additionally, inter-season or summer flu circulation in America is historically lows at about 0.20 percent.
A new CDC report found the rate of positive flu tests dropped from about 20% between September 2019 and February 2020 to 2.3% between March 2020 and May 2020 (above)
For the report, the team collected data from about 300 U.S. laboratories in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the District of Columbia.
Researchers compared the period before COVID-19 was declared a national emergency in the US with the period after.
This was defined as between September 29, 2019 and February 29, 2020 for the pre-national emergency period and from March 1, 2020 to May 16, 2020 for the after period.
In the US, flu activity started to pick up around the beginning of November 2019, peaking in mid-February 2020, with 30.25 percent of test results returning positive.
In early March, the percentage of positive tests dropped to 14.9 percent and then dropped by about 90 percent over the four weeks that followed.
Overall, the rate of positive flu screenings dropped from 19.34 percent pre-national emergency to 0.33 percent post-national emergency.
The number of laboratory tests also dropped from a median of 49,696 per week before the national emergency to a median of 19,537 per week after the statement.
The summer circulation of the flu, between May 17, 2020 and August 8, 2020, is at an all-time low of 0.2 percent of the positive tests returned.
This is compared to 2.35 percent in 2019, 1.04 percent in 2018 and 2.36 percent in 2017.
Similar drops were also seen in countries such as Australia, Chile and South Africa, the team found.
CDC researchers say they believe these low rates are due to the mitigating measures taken by states to curb the coronavirus pandemic.
“ In the United States, a national state of emergency COVID-19 was declared on March 1, 2020, but in late February, states began to implement a series of COVID-19 mitigation measures, including school closings, the ban on mass gatherings, and home orders, ” wrote the authors.
‘In addition, some emphasis was placed on individual measures, such as wearing a mask, staying home sick and taking social distance.’
They emphasize that flu vaccination for all people over six months of age is essential to prevent flu infection, especially this season when coronavirus and flu can circulate together.