Sept. 29, 2021 -- With the Delta variant of COVID-19 inactive raging successful the United States and intensive attraction units successful parts of the state filled with patients with the coronavirus, experts are voicing interest astir the added hazard of a hard flu season.
Two mathematical models are predicting a large rebound successful the fig and severity of flu cases successful the 2021-22 play aft past year's flu play failed to amusement up erstwhile nationalist wellness measures brought successful to power COVID-19 seemed to person the added payment of stopping the flu.
But some analyses, posted to the medRxiv preprint server and not yet peer-reviewed by different experts, person travel to the aforesaid conclusion: The flu could marque a comeback this year.
In the worst-case scenario, the U.S. could spot an other 300,000 to 400,000 hospitalizations from the flu -- astir treble the accustomed fig -- according to elder survey writer Mark Roberts, MD, manager of the Public Health Dynamics Laboratory astatine the University of Pittsburgh. These numbers could beryllium a catastrophe successful areas wherever hospitals are already filled with COVID-19 patients.
Waning earthy immunity successful the nationalist owed to past year's missing flu play could marque people, particularly young children, much apt to get the virus.
In a emblematic year, astir fractional of Americans get the flu shot. The caller mathematical models foretell that the vaccination complaint would request to emergence to astir 75% to debar the other hospitalizations. But adjacent a 10% summation successful vaccination rates could trim hospitalizations by 6% to 46%, depending connected what strains are dominant.
Usually, the Southern Hemisphere flu season, from February to August, helps amusement what the Northern Hemisphere tin expect implicit the coming winter. But with strict COVID-19 measures and limits connected planetary question inactive successful spot successful countries similar Australia and New Zealand and overmuch of South America, it has been different grounds debased twelvemonth for flu infections, says Ian Barr, PhD, lawman manager of the World Health Organization’s Collaborating Center for Reference and Research connected Influenza successful Melbourne, Australia.
Australia detected lone astir 500 cases this year, compared with astir 300,000 successful a mean year, and recorded nary hospitalizations oregon deaths from the flu. New Zealand recorded conscionable 2 cases.
"I've ne'er seen thing similar this," Barr says.
In Australia, the mild flu play led to less radical getting their flu changeable than usual. The complaint fell from astir 50% to conscionable 33%, says Barr. "If that happens successful the U.S., the colonisation volition beryllium adjacent much susceptible due to the fact that determination has been astir nary flu for much than 12 months," helium says.
Both Roberts and Barr accidental it is captious that arsenic galore radical arsenic imaginable get vaccinated during the upcoming flu season, particularly children who volition person astir nary earthy immunity to the virus.
"The vaccine is our champion limb against the flu, particularly for the astir at-risk groups," says Barr.
Other parts of the satellite had mixed results. India saw a precocious fig of flu cases, portion neighbouring Sri Lanka had precise few. West Africa besides saw rather a precocious level of circulating virus. Overall, the flu was detected successful 45 countries during the Southern Hemisphere season, little than fractional of what mightiness beryllium expected successful a mean year, says Barr.
Despite the wide debased numbers, the WHO saw capable successful the information to make 2 changes to adjacent year's Southern Hemisphere vaccine formulation astatine its gathering connected Sept. 24, aft changing conscionable 1 of the strains for the Northern Hemisphere vaccine astatine its gathering past February.
The CDC recommends that everyone 6 months oregon older get the flu shot, with fewer exceptions.