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As COVID-19 Winds Down, the Flu Comes Roaring Back

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While COVID-19 raged, we saw story after story come out about the flu being almost entirely wiped out during the usual flu season, which typically rages on from late autumn through winter. In fact, a lot of winter illnesses occurred at much lower rates this past winter, causing some to speculate that COVID cases numbers were being fudged using flu cases as COVID cases.

Having talked to numerous health professionals, it appears that what we likely saw was actually a myriad of health precautions for the novel coronavirus actually suppressing the spread of the usual winter viruses.

Doctors’ offices are seeing cases of the flu, RSV, and other illnesses typically seen in the cooler parts of the year, and the numbers are rising across the country. Since we as a country spent our winter masked, using a ton of hand sanitizer, and basically living our most sanitary lives for fear of the pandemic, the more common illnesses didn’t have a chance to spread as they usually do.

And because people stopped going to doctors’ offices for wellness check-ups during the height of the pandemic, we’re very likely looking at either a stagnant distribution of flu doses or even a dip (the CDC does not have currently have numbers for the 2020-2021 flu vaccine doses). So fewer people are likely vaccinated against the flu this year.

So with a rising number of flu cases as well as other illnesses, doctor’s offices – especially pediatric clinics – are being hit hard with cases, and I’ve even heard reports of some places being understaffed at times because doctors and nurses themselves are now being slammed with these viruses. It’s a bit of a problem, especially after more than a year of dealing with a pandemic.

The good news is that the COVID-19 vaccine appears to be doing more than just fighting the virus. It’s led researchers to push mRNA vaccine research into the fight against other illnesses.

Via The Verge:

The high efficacy of the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines made by Moderna and Pfizer / BioNTech was a major endorsement for this type of vaccine.

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