Health experts are worried about the upcoming flu season and they have also been warning the public about it.
“There is a lot of uncertainty about the 2021-2022 influenza season,” epidemiologist Lauren Ancel Meyers, director of the University of Texas Covid-19 Modeling Consortium, told CNBC.
“As with Covid, when somebody recovers from a seasonal influenza infection, they retain some level of immunity that protects them against future infection, at least for a short period of time. Since our Covid mitigation measures prevented influenza transmission last year, there are not a whole lot of people who were recently infected,” she said.
“So we may be entering flu season with a higher level of susceptibility than usual, which could exacerbate the risks,” she added. Whether or not the flu season turns out to be more severe this year could depend both on the evolution of the virus and decisions made at a personal level, Ancel Meyers believes.
“As we have learned from the last 18 months of the Covid-19 pandemic, the decisions we make as individuals and communities can have a huge impact on the fate of an outbreak. We can and should do our part to prevent a catastrophic flu season, by getting vaccinated early this fall and taking sensible precautions if and when the virus starts spreading widely,” she said.
“Our experience with Covid may lead to behavior changes that work in our favor. People may be more willing to take influenza vaccines and to wear face masks or take other precautions to prevent transmission during the peak of the season.”
Professor Chris Whitty, England’s chief medical officer, back in June said, “Either we will have a very significant Covid surge, people will minimize their contacts and we will have less respiratory viruses, or people will be back to a more normal life, there will be some Covid but on top of that we will go back to having a flu surge, an RSV (respiratory syncytial virus, a common respiratory virus that usually causes mild, cold-like symptoms) surge in children, and so on. I think we need to be aware of and brace for the fact that the coming winter may well be quite a difficult one.”