A year ago, as the pandemic was sweeping Georgia, the weekly flu reports almost took a back seat. Through week 12 of the 2019-20 flu season, 85 people had died and another 2,482 had been hospitlalized. Just under 100 “outbreaks” had been recorded since the previous fall. The season would end on May 16 with 94 deaths and 2,520 hospitalizations.
On April 6, Georgia’s Department of Public Health issued the week 12 summary for the 2020-21 season: Two deaths, 33 hospitalizations, no outbreaks. Those numbers haven’t changed much since just after January and likely won’t go up much more before the season ends this mid-May. While we’re about a month away from the end of flu season and still have eight weeks of data to digest, there’s good reason to be optimistic.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention concurs, stating “seasonal influenza activity in the United States remains lower than usual for this time of year.” Latest report
The most common reason we’re hearing: The preventions we’re taking to avoid potential COVID spread are helping curtail flu cases as well. You can see the shift better when comparing the past five seasons in Georgia:
- 2019-20: 94 deaths, 2,520 hospitalizations.
- 2018-19: 44 deaths, 1,582 hospitalizations.
- 2017-18: 151 deaths, 3,139 hospitalizations.
- 2016-17: 9 deaths, 1,484 hospitalizations.
- 2015-16: 7 deaths, 582 hospitalizations.