A leading autoimmune disease expert says the flu may be “out of this fall” as the US moves to cooler months while still grappling with the coronavirus pandemic.
“We may not have the flu, but we should all be vaccinated,” said Dr. Bob Lahita, chairman of the Department of Medicine at St. Joseph Healthcare System, told CBSN anchor Anne-Marie Green.
The World Health Organization estimates that every year there are nearly 3-5 million serious casesworldwide and up to 500,000 deaths annually associated with the disease.
The United States, the epicenter of the COVID-19 crisis, has seen more than 150,000 coronavirus-related deaths and more than 4 million confirmed cases since March. Medical experts are concerned about what an excessive number of cases might mean as students return to school and the annual flu season begins.
A former U.S. health official, Dr. Rick Bright, testified to athat the country could face the “dark winter in modern history” if pandemic control was not controlled.
However, efforts to eradicate coronavirus may pay off in other ways.
Countries such as China, Canada and the United Kingdom recently reported a sharp drop in influenza cases following global social transition measures to contain coronavirus, according to a report from Reuters.
The report also said that the latest weekly infectious diseases in South Korea saw “an 83% decrease in cases from the same period a year before.” In Australia, which is currently in the winter, experts are seeing lower hospital admissions rates for non-COVID-19 infectious diseases for the time of year. However, the WHO warns in a recent report that flu numbers may need to be viewed with “caution” because of the pandemic that hinders the reporting capabilities of some countries.
Lahita ng Dr. There has been a similar decline in US flu cases “due to our wearing masks and hand washing and social.”
“I think it would be interesting to watch it,” he said.
Some experts are concerned that the absence of flu infection this year could negatively affect immunity in the future flu season.
“It could be that if we don’t have infections this time there will be weaker people next time, that is definitely something we will need to monitor carefully,” said Ben Marais, an infectious disease expert at the University of Sydney Computers.
According to Dr. Lahita, the issue of immunity for bothand the flu may have a simple solution in the future, once a vaccine is developed.
“I think the novel coronavirus will be with us for many, many years,” he said. “However, there is hope that in 2021, for example, we will be vaccinated together, so that when you are vaccinated for the flu you are vaccinated for COVID-19.”