Nevada flu activity low despite ongoing COVID-19 pandemic

Nevada flu activity low despite ongoing COVID-19 pandemic

LAS VEGAS (FOX5) —  Nevada flu activity has been significantly lower than recent years despite the COVID-19 pandemic raging across the United States.

The Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health said hospitalizations, deaths and positive flu test results are all down for the 2020-2021 season. Here’s the breakdown of flu activity — up to week 2 of the season — for the past three seasons:

Flu season   Hospitalizations  Deaths  Percent of specimens testing positive by sentinel labs
 2018-2019  449  13  26.5%
 2019-2020  931  22  48.3%
 2020-2021  23  1  0.02%

The flu season begins week 40 (in the fall) and goes through week 20 of the next year. Nevada officials said other states are also reporting low flu numbers. Officials said the low numbers are due to ongoing COVID-19 mitigation members, such as wearing a mask and limiting activity in large groups.

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“Along with improved hygiene practices, significantly more people are wearing masks this season and avoiding close contact and group gatherings with others, which helps prevent the spread of the virus,” Nevada Influenza Surveillance Coordinator Maximilian Wegener said.

Even with low flu numbers, public health officials still recommend getting a yearly flu shot.

“Influenza cases typically start to peak in the beginning of February to the middle of March and little is still known about the severity of being co-infected with influenza and COVID-19,” said Wegener. “Precautions to prevent them are crucial, and vaccines continue to play a major role in preventing the spread of both. We recommend getting the influenza vaccine as soon as possible to avoid any delays in receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.”

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