Colorado Flu Cases, Deaths See Dramatic Drop Amidst Pandemic
It's hard to imagine that a pandemic can have a bright side, but there is a silver lining: Flu cases and deaths are declining in Colorado.
According to The Denver Post, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) has only seen 23 hospitalizations from the flu so far this season, compared to the 2,430 hospitalizations recorded last year.
The state also saw 143 deaths from the flu last year. This flu season? Only three to date.
"I've never seen flu this low," Larissa Pisney, Medical Director of Infection Prevention and Control at the UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital, told the publication. "This is certainly unprecedented."
Officials credit this dramatic drop to COVID-19 precautions, such as handwashing, wearing masks, decreased travel, and social distancing.
Keeping children out of schools, where the flu usually thrives, has additionally contributed to this season's low numbers.
The pandemic also appears to affect the public's perception of the flu vaccine. In fact, The Denver Post reports that flu vaccinations increased by 13.5% this year.
Along with preventing the flu, research from the Alzheimer's Association shows that the flu vaccine is correlated with a reduction in Alzheimer's incidence.
However, Pisney warns that a decrease in cases does not mean that the flu is not a danger amidst COVID-19, as she believes the virus could exhibit a similar annual return to the flu.
Coloradans still have time to get vaccinated this flu season, which runs until May 22. As for the COVID-19 vaccine, Colorado is moving into Phase 1B.3 on March 5.
COVID-19 Vaccine Locations in Fort Collins