Experts Credit Lockdowns to Absence of Influenza This Year
According to data from Public Health England, the U.K. has not recorded even one case of influenza this year. Flu cases are down everywhere around the globe, not making this claim out of the U.K. terribly surprising. Despite this being the height of the season, confirmed cases of the flu in the U.K. have not been reported through the usual path of surveillance testing.
The hospital data is in line with the claim that the flu has been wiped out this season. Health officials have confirmed that only four people have been hospitalized in England as a result of flu complications since the beginning of the year. To put this into perspective, this number was 74 at this same time period last year.
Why the Drop in Cases?
Experts are crediting the lockdowns across the U.K. for the lack of flu spread. The same measures that are bringing down COVID-19 cases across the region are also responsible for halting the spread of the flu. The extreme social distancing protocols, mask-wearing mandates, and an adherence to strict personal hygiene have all combined to stop the flu in its tracks. It is not a surprise to learn that influenza has been nearly wiped out along with the efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
Skeptics Chime In
Some people say that the flu is simply being underreported. These skeptics claim that the traditional cases of influenza are only being reported as COVID-19 cases instead. Because the symptoms are so similar between the two illnesses, it is easy to confuse them without a diagnostic test.