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Friday, March 27, 2020

CDC: Seasonal Flu Activity Slowing

by Calculated Risk on 3/27/2020 12:02:00 PM

Seasonal flu activity is sharply, and that will help with the rapidly increasing COVID-19 pandemic.

From the CDC: Weekly U.S. Influenza Surveillance Report

Laboratory confirmed flu activity as reported by clinical laboratories continues to decrease; however, influenza-like illness activity is increasing. Influenza severity indicators remain moderate to low overall, but hospitalization rates differ by age group, with high rates among children and young adults.

Nationally, the percent of laboratory specimens testing positive for influenza at clinical laboratories continued to decrease while ILI activity continued to increase. More people are seeking care for respiratory illness due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Note that ILI (influenza-like illness) activity is increasing due to COVID-19.

Flu ActivityClick on graph for larger image.

This graph from the CDC shows the number of positive specimens, and the percent of tests positive.

If we look back at previous reports (for week 12), activity this year is slowing faster than in most previous years. 

Influenza is seasonal, but social distancing is probably helping lower flu activity too.  And fewer patients with the flu is a positive for healthcare workers.