In the northern hemisphere, October through March is flu season (流感 or “liugan” in Traditonal Mandarin). Almost every year, a new variant appears, new flu shots are developed, and millions inoculated in hope of preventing a mass outbreak. Most years, they’re successful though once in a while they aren’t (e.g. SARS, MERS, H1N1).
Then along comes the 2020-2021 flu season. And nothing happens. Flu has been so rare this year that it’s not even being deemed a health concern by the governments of many countries. I’m sure that some of the less educated (e.g. COVID deniers and anti-maskers) will say, “flu is fake, just like COVID!” while others will wrongly guess, “COVID-19 replaced the flu!”
No. Flu has been a non-issue this year because measures intended to prevent the spread of COVID-19 are exactly the measures needed to prevent the spread of flu: masks, hand washing and sanitizing, and social distancing. It shouldn’t surprise anyone paying attention that the number of influenza cases and deaths is at near record lows.
Here in Taiwan, the 2019-2020 season saw 75 deaths and hundreds of cases. This year, Taiwan’s Centre for Disease Control reports one hospitalization and zero deaths for the entire island of 24,000,000 people since October. That’s unheard of. (The link above comes from this site, the two images below taken from the PDF. The “express” is a weekly report.) We had more cases of and deaths from Dengue Fever than this last summer.
More below the fold.
The US’s CDC Flu Season Report says the same thing, less than 1,600 cases for the entire country. Cases for 2020-2021 are roughly one percent of 2019-2020 (first image), and one death across the whole of the US (second image). Both images come from the latest US CDC weekly report.
Health Canada reports the same thing, record lows of cases and deaths. There are only 65 cases in the entire country this year (latest weekly report). And it’s the same story in other countries. (Image below from Health Canada’s latest report.)
The questions now on my mind:
Will people learn that actions have consequences, both positive and negative?
Will people get in the habit of masking up during the winter to stop diseases? (Bonus: it keeps your face warm in the cold.)
Will anti-maskers and the selfish finally remove their craniums from their rectums and admit that masks save lives? (On that one, I won’t hold my breath.)