Flu cases could increase this season after calm 2020-2021 flu season

Experts credit COVID-19 protocols with keeping the number of flu cases low
Published: Nov. 23, 2021 at 5:56 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 23, 2021 at 9:55 PM CST
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TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - Mask wearing, hand washing, and staying home helped play a role in bringing down the number of flu cases during the 2020-2021 season, according to the CDC.

Nearly 819,000 flu cases were reported last season. During the 2019/2020 season, between 39 million and 56 million cases were reported, according to the CDC. East Texas health leaders say this season is starting out similar to last.

“So far, its been another mild season of flu. We’ve seen about 12 to 14, 15 cases a week in our system,” UT Health East Texas Chief Medical Officer Dr. Tom Cummins said.

Cummins says the low numbers they’re seeing now may not stay that way.

“We would expect it to go up a little bit as people kinda congregate and get into groups again without masking, et cetera,” Cummins said.

The CDC says vaccination also played a role in keeping last season’s case numbers low.

“It’s very similar to COVID. The way you stop the spread of a disease is to get as many people vaccinated to it as you can, and even if it doesn’t completely prevent you from getting the flu or COVID, it helps mitigate the symptoms,” Cummins said.

As the season progresses, Cummins says more cases will pop up. Keeping up practices like wearing a mask, hand washing, and getting the flu vaccine will all help keep numbers low.

“Particularly in the southern part of the country, the flu really starts to hit January, February, so if you get vaccinated now, you should be well protected,” Cummins said.

Preliminary estimates from the CDC show between 50% and 55% of U.S. adults got a flu vaccine by the end of May 2020.

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