Where Did Last Year’s Flu Season Go
In the USA during Week #34 of the U.S. CDC influenza reporting period, about 1% of patient visits reported through the Outpatient Influenza-like Illness Surveillance Network (ILINet) were due to influenza-like illness (ILI).
This percentage reported on August 28, 2020, is below the national baseline of 2.4%.
Additionally, based on the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) mortality surveillance data, 6.2% of the deaths occurring during the week ending August 22, 2020 (Week #34) were due to Pneumonia and Influenza (P&I).
And indicators that track ILI and COVID-19-like illness (CLI) and the percentage of laboratory tests positive for SARS-CoV-2 have continued to decrease nationally since mid-July.
Regionally, six of 10 regions reported decreasing or stable (change of ≤0.1%) ILI, CLI, and percentage of laboratory tests positive for SARS-CoV-2. However, two regions reported an increase in the percentage of specimens testing positive for SARS-CoV-2.
Nationally, the percentage of respiratory specimens testing positive for SARS-CoV-2 decreased from 6.2% during Week #33 to 5.7% during Week #34 and decreased or remained the same in eight of the 10 regions.
Furthermore, based on death certificate data, the percentage of fatalities attributed to pneumonia, influenza, or COVID-19 (PIC) for Week #34 is 7.9%. This is currently lower than Week #33 (12.3%), but will likely increase as more death certificates are processed, says the CDC.
Most importantly, there were no influenza-associated pediatric fatalities reported to CDC during Week #34. Unfortunately, a total of 188 pediatric fatalities have occurred during the 2019-2020 season.
Most people in the USA over 6 months of age are encouraged by the CDC to get vaccinated every flu season since influenza infections can create severe consequences.
Seasonal flu vaccines fight infection by inducing antibodies that target the virus’s HA head. This region varies season to season, which is why flu vaccines must be updated each year, says the U.S. NIH.
The most common flu shot for the 2020-2021 influenza season in the Northern Hemisphere are quadrivalent vaccines that protect people against 4 viruses; influenza A (H1N1) virus, influenza A (H3N2) virus, and 2 influenza B viruses.
For more information about this flu season, the CDC suggests speaking with a healthcare provider.
PrecisionVaccinations publishes research-based flu shot news.