Ricochet is the best place on the internet to discuss the issues of the day, either through commenting on posts or writing your own for our active and dynamic community in a fully moderated environment. In addition, the Ricochet Audio Network offers over 50 original podcasts with new episodes released every day.
One of the few pieces of good news this year is that the flu season has been exceptionally mild so far. While it’s great that we don’t have to face two deadly epidemics simultaneously, I have a question:
Why is there less flu in 2020 than other years?
Here are the possibilities that I have come up with:
- Everyone who was going to get the flu has already succumbed to the Wuhan virus.
- The preventative measures being used to fight the Wuhan virus protect against the flu.
- More people are getting flu vaccinations and/or the vaccines are more effective than other years.
- Flu cases are being undercounted.
- Exposure to the Wuhan virus in some way provides protection from the flu.
- The flu strain is extraordinarily mild this year,
The impetus for this post was a discussion I had with @kozak in the comments of @arizonapatriot‘s excellent post, Covid Deaths Are Real: Rebutting Dr. Briand. I stated that I thought that the reason that there are fewer flu deaths was because most of the people who were going to die of flu were already dead from the Wuhan virus. Kozak replied:
We have tens of millions of elderly and people with multiple risk factors for covid death who are 50+ years old. Plenty of people left to potentially get infected and die either of Covid or the flu. . .
Only a tiny fraction of those susceptible have died. Again. tens of millions of elderly, hypertensive, diabetic, cardiac, immunocompromised, fat, etc etc etc people in the US.
It is true that only a tiny fraction of those susceptible die of the Wuhan virus, but the same can be said for people who die of flu. While there are millions at risk, only the most susceptible die of either disease. I would bet the Venn diagrams of both populations are pretty congruent.
Still, while that may be a partial answer to why fewer people are dying, it doesn’t answer why fewer people are contracting the flu.
Kozak and others have posited that people are not getting the flu because of the protective measures: hand-washing, masks, distancing, lockdowns, etc-being used to stop the spread of the Wuhan virus. That begs the question: If these measures are stopping the spread of the flu, why aren’t they working to stop the spread of the Wuhan Virus? Right now, cases of the Wuhan virus are supposedly “surging” throughout the country, despite the fact that the protective measures have been in place for months. Why isn’t flu surging as well? Stating that the Wuhan virus spread is from people being careless about wearing masks is not an answer, because the flu should also be affected by how well the rules are being followed.
I’m posting this because I’m honestly puzzled about it. It could be the possibilities listed above are all, to one degree or another, reasons we are seeing less flu. What do you think?Published in