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CDC says flu activity lowest since 2005

In a normal year, flu cases would be on the rise in February, but that’s not the case in 2021.
Influenza activity has been unusually low in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic according to...
Influenza activity has been unusually low in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic according to the CDC.(Miranda O'Bryan)
Published: Feb. 19, 2021 at 4:32 PM EST
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BANGOR, Maine (WABI) - Influenza activity has been unusually low in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic according to the CDC.

In a normal year, flu cases would be on the rise in February, but that’s not the case in 2021.

The CDC says flu activity in the U.S., is the lowest it’s been since 2005.

Here in Maine, hospitals like Northern Light EMMC and St. Joseph in Bangor can confirm what’s happening all across the country.

“We are testing for it, because the symptoms are so close between influenza and COVID-19 that we don’t want to become too singularly focused on COVID and miss a flu diagnosis, so when someone presents with an upper respiratory illness and testing is warranted, we would be testing for all the common respiratory viruses, so we have been looking for it but we are yet to find it,” said Andrew Donovan, Infection Preventionist, St. Joseph Hospital.

Dr. Rebekah Gass, an Infectious Disease Physician at Northern Light EMMC, says that’s largely due to an increase in safety during the pandemic.

“It shows that the public health measures we’re taking to curb the spread of COVID are actually working to curb the spread of Influenza as well,” said Dr. Gass.

“Masking, good hand hygiene, social distancing, avoiding large crowds. All of those things work to prevent the transmission of both viruses,” she added.

Dr. Gass, says the push for more Americans to receive the flu vaccine this year because of Coronavirus, also played a vital role in limiting flu cases.

She says if you haven’t gotten a flu shot yet, there’s still time.

“We could still be seeing flu for another couple of months at least, so it is not too late to get your flu vaccine, and so everyone should consider getting one who hasn’t received one already,” Dr. Gass said.

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