So of course, all of the predictions of a twindemic last year were wrong. While we had plenty of COVID, there was no flu activity all year, not that anyone was complaining.
So what can we expect this year?
2021-22 Flu Season Predictions
Sure, we may continue to see more COVID, as new variants fuel repeated surges thanks to relatively low vaccination rates in many parts of the country.
And the flu?
“Flu activity was unusually low throughout the 2020-2021 flu season both in the United States and globally, despite high levels of testing.”2020-2021 Flu Season Summary
After a very quite flu season, is it coming back this year?
If you have any doubts, what do you think is holding it back?
More and more folks are traveling again, schools are all open, and fewer and fewer people are wearing masks.
All of which seems like an open invitation to the flu virus!
Is This the Year of the Twindemic?
Does that mean that the twindemic, an epidemic of flu and COVID, is finally coming?
“Globally, despite continued or even increased testing for influenza in some countries, influenza activity remained at lower levels than expected for this time of the year.”Influenza Update N° 402
The first thing you should notice before making your prediction, despite the increase in traveling, open schools, and fewer people wearing masks, has been the lack of flu activity in the Southern Hemisphere this ‘winter.’
Typically, this part of the world is coming off peaks in flu activity in August – the end of their winter season.
And this year, once again, they didn’t have any flu activity.
Are you surprised?
You probably shouldn’t be, after all, there was no flu activity anywhere else either.
So if Australia can essentially skip a flu season for two years in a row, why can’t the rest of the world?
Maybe, because the flu is very unpredictable?
“In Southern Asia, influenza detections of predominately influenza A(H3N2) continued to increase in India and Nepal.”Influenza Update N° 402, 13 September 2021
And we are finally seeing signs of some flu activity out there!
“Most antigenically novel and evolutionarily successful strains of seasonal influenza A (H3N2) originate in East, South and Southeast Asia.”Explaining the geographical origins of seasonal influenza A (H3N2)
This comes at a time when easing restrictions will likely spur more and more international travel.
“Once the vaccination requirement is put in place, the White House will ease all the country-specific restrictions on international travel that have prevented noncitizens who have been in the United Kingdom, European Union, China, India, Iran, Republic of Ireland, Brazil or South Africa in the prior 14 days from entering the U.S.”Q&A: America’s new COVID-19 rules for international travel
So, we have exactly what we need to stimulate a coming flu epidemic this year – as flu activity begins in some parts of the world, we have more countries opening their borders and there will be a big increase in international travel.
A flu epidemic that could be even worse than usual because we skipped having a flu season last year, so fewer people got sick and they didn’t develop any natural immunity to protect them this year.
Have you gotten a flu vaccine yet?
More on Flu Season Predictions
- How Long Are You Contagious When You Have the Flu?
- Warning Signs of a Severe Case of the Flu
- What is the Association Between COVID-19 Deaths and Flu Vaccination Rates?
- Why Do Kids Die With the Flu?
- The History of Flu Vaccine Recommendations
- I’m Not Anti-Vaccine, I Just Don’t Believe in Flu Shots
- Do They Really Just Guess at Which Strain to Put in the Flu Vaccine?
- CDC – Weekly U.S. Influenza Surveillance Report
- COVID-19 vs. The Flu: No Need to Pick Sides
- COVID-19 is Deadlier Than the Flu for Children
- COVID-19 and influenza are very different
- COVID-19 Lockdown and the Flu
- There is no COVID-19 “casedemic.” The pandemic is real and deadly.
- COVID-19 pandemic flu season – very good news and some bad
- Multiscale influenza forecasting
- Is There Risk of Flu Outbreaks in the 2021-22 Season?
- CDC – 2020-2021 Flu Season Summary
- CDC – How CDC Uses Flu Forecasting
- CDC – FluSight: Flu Forecasting
- WHO – Latest Influenza Update (Influenza Update N° 402)
- WHO – Influenza Update N° 400
- WHO – Influenza updates archive
- TSA checkpoint travel numbers (current year versus prior year(s)/same weekday)
- The Flu Vanished During Covid. What Will Its Return Look Like?
- Australian Influenza Surveillance Report and Activity Updates
- Explaining the geographical origins of seasonal influenza A (H3N2)
- Q&A: America’s new COVID-19 rules for international travel
- Fact check: COVID-19 is not a seasonal flu
- Fact check: COVID-19 pandemic spurred record-low flu activity this season
- Agent-based Investigation of the Impact of Low Rates of Influenza on Next Season Influenza Infections