A year loaded with social distancing, mask wearing, hand washing and staying in your home to prevent coronavirus spread rendered the 2020-2021 influenza season virtually non-existent. Public health and clinical laboratories reported 2,038 influenza cases throughout the season from Sept. 27, 2020 to April 24, 2021, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The firm approximates about 38 million people were sick with the influenza throughout the 2019-2020 season.”Its been a fantastic year,” stated Dr. John Swartzberg, a teacher emeritus of contagious diseases at the University of California-Berkeley in the school of public health. “In all my years of being a flu watcher … Ive never seen anything like this.”While low influenza incidence is unarguably a good idea, it raises concerns about the upcoming influenza season and what the flu vaccine will appear like in the fall.Twice a year– once in February and when in September– the World Health Organization consults with health professionals to evaluate last seasons flu data. Together, they anticipate the 4 most common pressures in the upcoming influenza season and suggest what vaccine manufacturers must include in the next flu vaccine.But this year, researchers are working with really little information, as international efforts to slow the coronavirus pandemic has actually considerably decreased influenza cases around the world.”Normally and unfortunately, we have a wealth of data to base the next years influenza vaccines on,” Swartzberg stated. “But we dont have a lot of that this year.”Based on the available data, the WHO advised a flu vaccine that looks similar to last seasons, he stated, “which makes sense because an extremely little portion (of people) on this planet established immunity to last years pressures.” In a quadrivalent vaccine– which contains 4 influenza stress– the WHO advised vaccine makers keep 2 B strains and alter out 2 A strains in the new vaccine, stated Dr. Gregg Sylvester, chief medical officer at Seqirus, a cell-based influenza vaccine maker based in North Carolina. “Will they get it right? That will be tough to forecast,” he said.As producers ramp up production of influenza vaccine, many Americans question what the upcoming season will bring. Health professionals anticipate the infection will stick to its routine seasonality, appearing in early October and ending by April, lasting on typical about 13 weeks.The absence of flu cases this season should not impact the upcoming influenza season, Swartzberg stated. The truth that many individuals didnt get ill throughout an unusual flu season does not indicate their body immune systems have actually damaged and are unprepared for a regular season.”Its not like what doesnt eliminate you makes you stronger,” he stated. “We do not need to be exposed to influenza regularly and get sick to have more powerful body immune systems.”Its difficult to make any other forecasts about the 2021-2022 influenza season right now, specifically as the country continues to battle with coronavirus cases, which hover around 50,000 brand-new cases daily, according to the CDC. We dont know if resuming will trigger a bad influenza season, Sylvester said, “however we should be gotten ready for it.” Swartzberg hopes the pandemic has actually taught Americans about the significance of public health and how precaution can be used for other viruses, not simply SARS-CoV-2.”If we discovered enough from this COVID pandemic, maybe everyone will constantly wear masks if they have a runny nose … perhaps organizations will permit them to stay at home and not require them to come to work,” he stated. “It might actually make us a lot much healthier.”Follow Adrianna Rodriguez on Twitter: @AdriannaUSAT. Health and patient safety coverage at USA TODAY is made possible in part by a grant from the Masimo Foundation for Ethics, Innovation and Competition in Healthcare. The Masimo Foundation does not supply editorial input.
“While low flu incidence is unarguably an excellent thing, it raises questions about the upcoming flu season and what the flu vaccine will look like in the fall.Twice a year– as soon as in February and once in September– the World Health Organization satisfies with health specialists to review last seasons flu data. That will be hard to predict,” he said.As producers ramp up production of influenza vaccine, many Americans question what the upcoming season will bring. Health professionals forecast the infection will stick to its routine seasonality, appearing in early October and ending by April, lasting on average about 13 weeks.The lack of influenza cases this season shouldnt impact the upcoming flu season, Swartzberg stated. The reality that numerous people didnt get ill throughout an unusual influenza season does not mean their immune systems have actually deteriorated and are unprepared for a typical season.