February is typically peak flu season, but this year the annual epidemic is in drastic decline. Flu is practically non-existent this year, with levels of the virus lower than it's been in decades.
The reasons behind this, according to experts, is that people have not been in close enough proximity to transmit the virus. Add to that masking, social distancing, and virtual just about everything due to COVID-19, and the circumstances that would have spread flu simply don't exist.
The CDC's Lynnette Brammer said that in the US "this is the lowest flu season we’ve had on record," according to the AP. While initially experts had warned of a "twindemic" of flu and coronavirus, that never materialized.
Reports from across the country show that the annual trend of flu has not happened. Doctors offices that are usually full of flu patients at this time of year are devoid of people bearing that illness.
In Maine, Dr. Nate Mick who heads the emergency department at Maine Medical Center in Portland, said "I have seen zero documented flu cases this winter." The same is true across the country in Oregon City.
Normally, flu is the biggest contagious illness every year, with over half a million hospitalizations and deaths ranging from 50,000-60,000. Scientists believe that the coronavirus has played a role in the eradication of this year's flu. The idea is that, in essence, COVID has "muscled aside flu and other bugs that are more common in the fall and winter.
Children, especially, have been spared. There has been only one death of a child attributed to flu this season. Last year there were 92. The CDC is having trouble telling how effective this year's flu vaccine is as a result of the fact that there have been so few cases reported across the board. 190 million flu vaccines were given out.