Madison, Wisconsin – As we approached the 2020-2021 flu season, health officials prepared for the possibility of a "twin pandemic" with COVID-19 and influenza. While we are not out of respiratory season yet, UW Health data shows there have been virtually no local flu cases this year.
These numbers stand in stark contrast to one year ago, when UW Health had seen more than 1,000 positive tests for influenza by this time. Today, there has been just one.
This dramatic decline is welcome news, and health officials credit the precautions people are using to stay safe from COVID-19: Wearing a mask, social distancing, using hand hygiene and staying home when sick.
"The decline in flu numbers is encouraging because I think it would have been worse if we had high numbers of COVID-19 cases coinciding with influenza cases," said Dr. Nasia Safdar, medical director of infection control at UW Health. "In light of this sharp drop in flu cases, the public might consider wearing masks in public during flu season in the future, regardless of the COVID-19 situation."
UW Health Influenza Data Comparison
Positive influenza tests 2018-2019 (as of Feb. 10, 2019): 149
Positive influenza tests 2019-2020 (as of Feb. 10, 2020): 1,183
Positive influenza tests 2020-2021 (as of Feb. 10, 2021): 1
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