As coronavirus cases surge nationwide, the flu has seen a remarkable dip. Reported cases of influenza reached record lows last week, with fewer than 40 diagnoses recorded during Dec. 13-19.
In week 51 of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s “FluView” data monitoring system, 36 positive flu tests were documented. This marks a steep decrease from last year’s total of 7,703 cases during the same time frame. The positivity rate has sharply declined this calendar year as only 0.10% of tests taken this year came back positive. The five-year average is 15.80% positive.
The data comes in defiance of the “twindemic” concerns perpetuated by medical experts, or the idea that the raging coronavirus pandemic and the seasonal increase in reported flu cases would converge with catastrophic results. Dr. Brian Garibaldi, the medical director of Johns Hopkins University’s Biocontainment Unit, told the Washington Examiner that “we have to be concerned about the possibility of having a surge in flu at the same time as we’re seeing a surge in COVID.”
“In any given winter, hospitals are taxed by the flu,” Garibaldi said. “There’s always a concern that our emergency departments will be overwhelmed and ICU capacity will be strained [due to the concurrence of flu and COVID-19 outbreaks], particularly with people who have coexisting conditions that then get influenza.”