Influenza activity for the 2020-2021 flu season remains “much lower than normal” for this time of year, down an astounding 98% compared to last year’s flu season.
The data comes from new numbers released Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and shows that the United States has only had 1,274 confirmed cases of the influenza virus from September 27, 2020 through January 9, 2021.
In comparison, during the 2019-2020 flu season, the United States had 76,505 cases of influenza during the same time period.
The CDC notes on its website, “Seasonal influenza activity in the United States remains lower than usual for this time of year.”
Photo Credit: CDC
The disparity cannot be chalked up to less testing, as more laboratory tests have been performed this season compared to last year.
For the 2020-2021 flu season, 675,582 total tests for the influenza virus have been performed, with a positivity rate of just 0.1%. At this point in the 2019-2020 flu season, 522,167 tests had been conducted with a positivity rate of 14.7%.
The CDC states, “The number of influenza positives reported by public health labs remains much lower than normal despite a higher than normal number of tests performed.”
The nation’s lead health organization also breaks down cases of the flu into 55 jurisdictions to better monitor the virus. These jurisdictions include all 50 states plus New York City, Washington, D.C., the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and the Northern Mariana Islands.
The CDC then gives each jurisdiction a designated “activity level,” including “insufficient data,” “minimal,” “low,” “moderate,” “high” or “very high.” The designations are reevaluated each week.
As of January 9, five jurisdictions were designated as having “low” influenza activity, 49 were classified as “minimal” while one had “insufficient data.”
The Daily Citizen has previously reported on the extremely low number of influenza cases this season. Every week, the CDC has warned, “Flu activity is unusually low at this time but may increase in the coming months.” So far, no such increase has materialized.
In October, some scientific experts were publicly worrying that an influenza outbreak combined with the COVID-19 pandemic could create a deadly “twindemic.”
“We know that flu seasons can be very severe and historically, can lead to thousands of deaths every year. That added on to the ongoing pandemic… is extremely, extremely concerning,” Dr. Nicole Iovine, an epidemiologist at the University of Florida, told Fox News.
Yet, the data from the CDC shows that this concern has not yet turned into reality.
The 2019-2020 flu season resulted in at least 39,000,000 infections, a minimum of 410,000 hospitalizations and between 24,000 and 62,000 deaths.
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