DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – While COVID-19 rages across the country, an annual nuisance has yet to make much of an appearance: the flu.
“We’re seeing a historical record low of flu in the Southern Hemisphere and the Northern Hemisphere, and that means right now in the United States,” said Dr. Donna Casey, an Internal Medicine Specialist with Southwestern Health Resources.
Dr. Casey, who is also on the board of the Dallas County Medical Society, said her practice hasn’t seen a single flu case yet this season. Neither has Emergency Physician Glenn Hardesty.
“We were in full flu season last year at this time, so this has been a real departure from where we have been historically,” said Dr. Hardesty, of Texas Health Resources.
It’s not just in North Texas.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported only 40 positive flu cases for the week ending December 5 in the entire country.
That’s .2% of those who tested.
The reason, both doctors said, is simple.
“Because people are wearing masks. They’re also social distancing and trying to say 6 feet apart, and we’re requesting that if you’re sick, you stay home,” said Dr. Casey.
It’s also, they said, because of increased awareness of getting the flu vaccine.
As a result, it’s preventing the feared burden a “twin pandemic” could have put on the health care system.
“We’re keeping the ERs empty for people that really need it, as well as the ICU beds,” said Dr. Casey.
But Dr. Hardesty cautions this isn’t the time to get complacent. After all, flu season is far from over.
“I think that’s a good sign, but I also think that we need to remember that we’ve got to stay vigilant and keep using the protective measures that we know work,” he said. “We’re by no means out of the woods yet.”
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