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Hey, What Happened to the Flu?
Asking for a friend. A very sick friend.

As the lockdowns and hand-wringing over COVID-19 continue, data from the 2020-21 flu season is starting to emerge as an "emperor has no clothes" moment, reminding us that data and science should still inform decision making.

This chart from the CDC website which shows weekly percentage of hospital visits for influenza like illnesses from September to August, so as to capture a single flu season. As you can see, during most years, flu hospitalizations start to increase at about week 48, which is around the end of November, peaking somewhere about the end of January or early February.

There a few possible explanations: I could be any one of these, or a combination of these. The CDC offers a possible explanation on its website:

"The U.S. Outpatient Influenza-like Illness Surveillance Network monitors outpatient visits for influenza-like illness, not laboratory-confirmed influenza, and as such, will capture visits due to other respiratory pathogens, such as SARS-CoV-2, that present with similar symptoms. In addition, healthcare-seeking behaviors have changed dramatically during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many people are accessing the healthcare system in alternative settings which may or may not be captured as a part of ILINet. Therefore, ILI data, including ILI activity levels, should be interpreted with extreme caution. It is particularly important at this time to evaluate syndromic surveillance data, including that from ILINet, in the context of other sources of surveillance data to obtain a complete and accurate picture of both influenza and COVID-19 activity."

In other words, if you think you're seeing something here, you might not really be seeing it, so move on. It's true that more people are using other ways to access the medical system, like tele-health, but there aren't many alternatives to hospitalization for extreme symptoms. In any case, if trends continue, this will have to be explained.

Government -- at least state government in Oregon -- keeps telling us what danger we are in. It's nice to see that at least one problem has apparently fixed itself.

A D V E R T I S E M E N T

A D V E R T I S E M E N T




--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-01-03 13:36:54Last Update: 2021-01-04 17:23:02



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