The near-complete disappearance of the seasonal flu has some experts suggesting that the COVID mitigation measures should be brought back every year.
While COVID is still spreading, hospitalizations for the flu are at record lows since data has been collected.
From the New York Post:
Just 165 flu-related hospitalizations were recorded between Oct. 1 and Feb. 6, according to recent information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
That’s compared to roughly 400,000 people who were hospitalized during the 2019-2020 flu season, which also saw 22,000 deaths.
“This is lower than average for this point in the season and lower than rates for any season since routine data collection began in 2005, including the low severity 2011-12 season,” the CDC said.
While some have suggested that because the symptoms of the flu and COVID are very similar, some are being incorrectly categorized as COVID instead of the flu, which has resulted in fewer flu cases this season. Let’s leave all of that aside and focus on how the flu spreads.
Some experts — like Dr. Paul Offit did on CNN — are suggesting that the mitigation measures of masking up and social distancing should be continued every winter to prevent the spread of the flu.
Check it out:
CNN pundit suggest the lesson from COVID might be that we should mask up and social distance ourselves every winter so fewer people get the flu:
— Eddie Zipperer (@EddieZipperer) March 3, 2021
The tweet by Eddie Zipperer apparently triggered CNN’s Jake Tapper — he didn’t like that Dr. Offit wasn’t given the proper respect that he deserves for his expertise.
He was acting as a CNN pundit when he said this not in a medical capacity. Do NOT lecture me on honesty, Jake, when and your network are a veritable BS factory.
— Eddie Zipperer (@EddieZipperer) March 3, 2021
Triggered CNN host aside, let’s get back to the claim made by Dr. Offit. He’s suggesting that mitigation measures such as masking and social distancing could be the “key takeaway” from the global COVID response because it just might prevent the spread of the seasonal flu.
Hang on there, Hoss.
If we’re supposed to Trust The Science™ shouldn’t we look at how the flu actually spreads? Because the medical expert quoted in the New York Post, Dr. William Schaffner, has said that children are one of the main vectors of spread for the flu and that the school closures played a significant role in slowing the spread of the flu.
“COVID can be transmitted very readily among adults — very contagious — but flu, I think, really needs children to spread it around amongst themselves and then seed, if you will, the adults in their home and their neighbors,” Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University, told the station’s “Weekend Edition.”
“Children are generally thought of as having the distribution franchise for the influenza virus,” he added. “They produce much more virus, they shed more virus for longer periods of time.”
Source: New York Post
It’s important to note that the CDC has said that the coronavirus is “sometimes be spread by airborne transmission” and not just through droplets, unlike the flu.
By the way, both experts have a point — Dr. Offit says that mitigation measures used to prevent an illness that is spread through droplets (ie. the flu) work to slow the spread, but Dr. Schaffner’s view is also consistent with CDC studies that show that children spread the virus much longer than adults do.
Most healthy adults may be able to infect others beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 5 to 7 days after becoming sick. Children and some people with weakened immune systems may pass the virus for longer than 7 days.
It’s almost like The Science™ isn’t exactly settled enough to adhere to one expert’s pontifications, eh? It looks like it’s a more complex issue than just a knee-jerk response.
Unless Dr. Offit is advocating for school closures every winter or perhaps universal home-schooling, it seems like the masking and social distancing isn’t going to do what he thinks it will do.
But here’s another thought — in addition to the whole children spreading the flu everywhere, there’s also been an increased focus on hand hygiene.
In other articles, I have pointed out that doctors and nurses don’t always adhere to all of the recommendations that are known as “Standard Precautions” — the basic minimum of preventing the spread of illness. This includes hand washing. Doctors and nurses don’t wash their hands regularly unless they are actively monitored — even during a pandemic. But now, most public places have hand sanitizer available at the entrance, and many insist that you use it — at least, that’s what it’s like where I live. This mitigates the disturbing number of people who don’t wash their hands after using the bathroom.
It’s not all cut and dry, mask vs. no mask, or one mask vs. two masks, the way that the media says that it is.
But you can’t actually say that because it might be considered “dangerous or derogatory content” and you’ll be “fact-checked” by leftwing millennials censoring things that they don’t like and then have your ad revenue taken away.
God forbid we have conversations about public health like adults and understant that every public action in response to public health has a risk and a reward attached to it instead of just caving to “public health experts” like Dr. Fauci.