CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) -There was significant concerns among medical experts that we would be dealing with a twindemic, waging a war against both COVID and the flu.
But the Ohio Department of Health is reporting hardly any flu hospitalizations so far this season, well below the five year average.
The infectious disease experts at University Hospitals say several factors have contributed to the low number of cases.
“For nearly a solid year we’ve been diligently practicing infection control in every day life. Hand washing, distancing and masking,” said Dr. Claudia Hoyen, UH pediatric infectious disease specialist.
But children are playing a big role this year too, because they’re usually important in the transmission of the flu.
“So the kids transmit it to each other and then they bring it home to their parents. That is a very large way that the flu spreads. So since many of them have not been in school, and when they are in school they’re doing the very most effective thing, which is wearing mask, they are not spreading it,” Dr. Hoyen said.
Another change this flu season is the volume of vaccinations being administered.
“Really what we saw was a rapid uptake of the vaccine. We got to a point in our system where we’ve never been before with very few people declining the vaccine,” said Dr. Hoyen.
The official numbers and total aren’t out yet, but Dr. Hoyen expects this to be the case nationwide.
She also believes there has been far less testing for the flu.
“What we’ve been doing is kind of secret shopping among all the respiratory samples that we’ve been getting. Even if somebody hasn’t ordered the flu, we run a certain proportion of them for the flu just to be sure that we’re not missing anything. And I can tell you, we are not seeing the flu,” she said.