No cases of influenza A or RSV were found in Ohio in the 2020-21 season – and only two cases of B flu strain
- A new study examined children treated at Akron Children’s Hospital in Ohio during the 2018-19, 2019-20 and 2020-21 flu seasons
- Prior to the pandemic, the average incidence of RSV was 8.8% for the 2018-19 and 2019-20 seasons, but no cases were detected for the 2020-21 season.
- The average incidence of Influenza A and Influenza B was 13.6% and 0.3% respectively in 2018-19 and 6.1% and 6.8% respectively in 2019-20.
- However, during the 2020-21 season, no cases of influenza A were found and only two cases of influenza B were found.
- Health experts say masking mandates and social distancing introduced to protect against COVID-19 may have inadvertently stopped influenza transmission
Cases of influenza and other respiratory viruses fell during the COVID-19 pandemic, a new study suggests.
Researchers from Akron Children’s Hospital in Ohio looked at data from children treated during the 2018-19, 2019-20 and 2020-21 flu seasons.
They found that influenza infections among children were reduced by 99 percent, and there were no cases of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) detected in northern Ohio.
The team says the results show that masking and social distance were not only protective against COVID-19, but also played an important role in the fight against influenza.
A new study from Akron Children’s Hospital, Ohio, found no cases of influenza A and RSV during the 2020-21 season, and only two cases of influenza B were found.
‘Numbers do not lie. Face masking and proper hygiene and isolation can be effective means of protecting the vulnerable groups, such as the elderly and young children during the respiratory virus season, ‘says the abstract author Dr. Osama El-Assal, a pediatric emergency physician at Akron Children’s Hospital.
‘It can be a simple non-medical way to save lives.’
As COVID-19 cases began to rise in Ohio as the United States stood ready for the third wave, Gov. Mike DeWine urged residents to take mitigation measures.
This included wear and tear masks, social distancing and washing hands for at least 20 seconds with warm water and soap.
Several studies have suggested that covid-mitigating measures played a role in reducing the spread of other viral infections – a new study to discover the effect in Ohio.
For the abstract that will be presented this weekend, the team compared previous flu seasons with October 2020- April 2021.
Researchers studied the prevalence of influenza A, influenza B – a less common strain of influenza – and RSV, all of which are common in children.
Prior to the pandemic, the average incidence of RSV was 8.8 percent for the 2018-19 and 2019-20 seasons.
But for the 2020-21 season, no cases of RSV were detected.
Prior to the pandemic, in addition, the average incidence of influenza A was 13.6 percent in 2018-19 and 6.1 percent in 2019-20.
And the incidence of influenza B was 0.3 percent in 2018-19 and 6.8 percent in 2019-20.
However, during the 2020-21 season, no causes of influenza A were found, and only two cases of influenza B were found in Akron Children’s.
Another study from July 2021 in Detroit showed that cases of influenza A, influenza B and RSV were almost non-existent in the 2020-21 influenza season among adults and children compared to the 2019-2020 season
The team concluded that social distancing and mask mandates are effective in reducing the incidence of influenza and RSV in children.
The abstract will be presented at the virtual American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference & Exhibition on Saturday, October 9th.
This is not the first study to establish that COVID-19 pandemic restrictions effectively killed the 2020-21 flu season.
A July 2021 study of patients at Detroit Medical Center had zero positive tests for influenza A or influenza B last flu season among adults or children.
But compared to 2019-2020, up to 20 percent of child tests and 13 percent of adult tests came back positive for flu.