The flu season every year, which starts at the beginning of winter and subsides by spring, is known to cause multiple cases and deaths, especially in older adults. This is why healthcare providers urge people to a flu shot as it effectively prevents the infection.
However, 2020 has been different from any of the previous years due to the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus around the world. The everyday lifestyles have changed for the majority with more people staying indoors and avoiding public spaces.
According to the U.S. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, stay-at-home policies along with other guidelines for coronavirus infection including maintaining distance, frequent handwashing, and wearing a mask should be followed until the pandemic is officially over.
At the moment, many countries have started their coronavirus vaccine rollouts but the pandemic is likely to continue for months before widespread immunity has been achieved.
Until then, taking preventive measures is mandatory as it is the only way to keep transmission levels down.
Although an increasing number of people, specifically younger adults, are finding it hard to follow instructions as strictly as before, the good news is that the results of recent reports have found that many are willing to continue wearing a mask and take other measures even if the pandemic ends.
Such changes in perception of coronavirus control policies can keep people taking measures resulting in ending the crisis as soon as possible.
In addition, it will also help in controlling outbreaks of other pathogens in the future as many people will already be familiar with basic hygienic steps for avoiding infections.
In fact, since many people have been following guidelines for the prevention of SARS-CoV-2, the flu season of 2020 has been very mild even though many people have not been able to get their yearly flu shots.
Initially, there were major concerns expressed by healthcare providers over the lack of people getting their flu vaccinations in the past year as many were simply avoiding going to hospitals or their doctors because of the fear of catching the coronavirus infection.
Even then, the number of flu cases was comparatively much lower along with the mortality rates. Experts state that this has primarily happened due to a decrease in contact between people and physical distancing.
Last year, there were only one hundred and fifty-five cases of influenza that required hospitalization from October to January.
On the other hand, there were approximately 8,633 hospitalized patients of flu in the 2019-2020 flu season. So, during the 2020-21 season, there was a ninety-eight percent decrease in new flu infections.
The decrease in flu cases is a result of the vast majority taking precautions for coronavirus. As long as people keeping incorporating the preventive measures in their everyday lives, the new cases of flu are likely to remain low.
If the pandemic ends by the summer of this year, experts may still recommend people to wear a mask and maintain distance specifically during the next flu season.