Friday, April 10, 2020

CDC: Seasonal Flu Activity Very Low

by Calculated Risk on 4/10/2020 11:38:00 AM

This will be my last update on this Flu season.

Seasonal flu activity has slowed sharply, and is now low, and that will help with the 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 somewhat 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 14), activity slowed faster this year than in most previous years.

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

The CDC estimates there were 410,000 hospitalization due to the flu this season (spread over 6 months). Since new flu hospitalizations are now close to zero, this takes some of the load off the healthcare workers.