[Editorial] The CDC Suspends Reporting for the 2020-21 Flu Season - P.O.W. Report

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

[Editorial] The CDC Suspends Reporting for the 2020-21 Flu Season

With everything that's been going on this year, I was interested in seeing how the start of the flu/influenza was going for the country and was shocked to read that the CDC suspended the collection of data to show nation wide trends. [The CDC source for the screen shot below is here].

I then clicked on the FluView interactive map [here] and sure enough there is a great map for last year and no option for this year despite the flu "season" starting in October of every year. Now, I know that this seems hard to believe so I continued to research the CDC website and came up with a second confirmation

I was able to finally find an interactive map for the flu [here] and it was just a generalized mortality chart: 

In conclusion, I stumbled upon [this article] that posed the curious question, where has the flu gone?:

In the Southern Hemisphere, where the flu season happens during our summer months, the WHO data suggests it never took off at all. In Australia, just 14 positive flu cases were recorded in April, compared with 367 during the same month in 2019 – a 96 per cent drop. By June, usually the peak of its flu season, there were none. In fact, Australia has not reported a positive case to the WHO since July.

In Chile, just 12 cases of flu were detected between April and October. There were nearly 7,000 during the same period in 2019. And in South Africa, surveillance tests picked up just two cases at the beginning of the season, which quickly dropped to zero over the following month – overall, a 99 per cent drop compared with the previous year.

In the UK, our flu season is only just beginning. But since Covid-19 began spreading in March, just 767 cases have been reported to the WHO compared with nearly 7,000 from March to October last year. And while lab-confirmed flu cases last year jumped by ten per cent between September and October, as a new season gets under way this year they've risen by just 0.7 per cent so far.... Other research by Public Health England has confirmed this. Globally, it is estimated that rates of flu may have plunged by 98 per cent compared with the same time last year.

'This is real,' says Dr David Strain, senior clinical lecturer at the University of Exeter Medical School. 'There's no doubt that we're seeing far fewer incidences of flu.'

So where has flu gone?

Despite the lack of data collection for the flu season this year, Alaska keeps a good track [here] for those that are interested. 

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