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Friday, April 03, 2020

CDC: Seasonal Flu Activity Decreased Sharply, Now "Low"

by Calculated Risk on 4/03/2020 02:10:00 PM

Seasonal flu activity has slowed sharply, and is now low, 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 sharply and is now low. Influenza-like illness activity, while lower than last week, is still elevated..

Nationally, the percent of laboratory specimens testing positive for influenza at clinical laboratories continued to decrease and is now low. … Recent changes in healthcare seeking behavior, including increasing use of telemedicine and recommendations to limit emergency department (ED) visits to severe illness, as well as increasing levels of social distancing, are affecting the number of persons with ILI and their reasons for seeking care in outpatient and ED settings.
Note that ILI (influenza-like illness) activity is elevated 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 13), activity slowed faster this year than in most previous years.

Influenza is seasonal, but social distancing has helped lower flu activity too.

And fewer patients with the flu is a positive for healthcare workers.