Although the mild flu season this winter has slowed to a small number of cases across most of the U.S., health officials are not ready to declare it over.
The flu test results, and doctor visits for flu-like illness have been declining since the start of the year. Experts believe that second waves of influenza could occur, though they aren't common.
Lynnette Brammer, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that "Is this it? Or is there more?"
The number of cases of Covid-19 has been declining, which has led to a decrease in mask wear and other behaviors that could have helped keep flu down this winter. Brammer stated that flu and other respiratory viruses can rise if people are less vigilant.
In fact, the flu activity indicators have increased in the past few weeks. These include the number of flu-related hospitalizations as well as the percentage of samples from patients with respiratory diseases that are positive for flu.
According to limited data, about two-thirds of flu cases are children and young adults. Brammer stated that flu spread has been driven by children in the past, and it is possible that we will see more of them.
Dr. Angela Branche of the University of Rochester was an infectious disease specialist and called flu season unusual.
She said that she doesn't have any flu cases at her practice this week. Normaly, Rochester doctors would diagnose 50-100 flu cases per day at this time of the year.
According to Dr. William Schaffner of Vanderbilt University, the flu season seems "easing towards the finish line". However, viruses can be unpredictable.
He said, "If you've had one flu season you've had one flu season."
The flu season last winter was almost non-existent. Experts credit the prevention of Covid-19 spreading by social distancing, mask-wearing, and school closings.
Many doctors were anxious about the future, wondering if flu immunity would wane after last year's lull. According to preliminary data from the CDC, flu shots were less common this year for both children and adults.
An early November flu epidemic at University of Michigan in Ann Arbor raised concerns. More than 700 cases were reported. The illnesses were caused by a certain version of flu -- called He said that this is what makes it so strange.
The peak season was December. However, Covid-19 cases rose, driven by the transmissible omicron variant. Branche observed. She noted that flu cases decreased as more people covered up and took other measures to stop coronavirus spreading.
The flu season at its peak was not as severe as the previous H3N2 flu seasons. Experts don't know why.
Many wonder if the coronavirus is able to essentially trump flu and other bugs. Scientists don't know the exact mechanism.
A highly effective vaccine could help reduce the severity of flu season. Researchers say that the flu strain currently in circulation is not compatible with this year's vaccine.
Although the CDC has not released any estimates on the effectiveness of the vaccine, it is expected that they will do so by next week.