Schrödinger’s Pandemic: Where Did The Flu Go?
As the vaccine rollout continues to build around the United States, the COVID-19 pandemic continues across the globe. The vaccine distribution continues to build speed every day, and every week.
But as we fight back against COVID-19 through the vaccine rollout, numbers show victory against another long-time virus issue across the US. At least, that's what the numbers say.
According to CDC statistics, this year's flu season has the lowest number of cases in recorded history. In fact, according to these numbers, the flu essentially doesn't exist this flu season.
No state in the US has a flu season over "Low" right now. No states are even at "Moderate" level. When you dig deeper into the CDC flu numbers, there are entire states who do not have enough flu to report in Core Based Statistical Areas. There is "insufficient data" for states like Michigan, Wisconsin, Florida, Iowa, Oregon, Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, and about half a dozen others.
That list of "insufficient data" states also includes Louisiana. Where the flu has completely disappeared this year.
According to the Louisiana Department of Health's 2020-2021 Influenza Surveillance Reports, there have been so few positive flu cases recorded at the Louisiana Public Health Laboratory, you can count them on one hand.
The LDH appeared to take the holiday weeks off, so the next numbers posted numbers from LDH were for the week ending January 2nd, 2021
Based on these posted numbers, it would appear that there have been a grand total of TWO flu cases recorded by the Louisiana Public Health Laboratory. Just two cases of the flu in the entire state, for the entire flu season.
So how does this happen?
Some doctors have told reporters that it's because everyone is taking the COVID-19 pandemic so serious, by getting their flu shots, and the mitigation efforts (masks and social distancing) that it's beating the flu to nonexistence. Effectively saying that the public is so good at mitigation we've defeated a virus that we've never been able to battle over the last 100 years.
But...at the same time, COVID-19 case numbers have been rising, and the same doctors explaining the flu disappearance with "out mitigation has been great" blame the COVID spread on people not taking mitigation seriously.
Meaning the public is serious enough with mitigation efforts to stop the flu (for the first time in recorded history) but not good enough to slow down COVID-19.
It's Schrödinger's Pandemic: where the public simultaneously can stop a historically unstoppable virus though mitigation, while not using enough mitigation to stop the other virus.
However, there could be another explanation...
The CDC, and many health organizations, are using a new term to track COVID-19 illness across the country. The term is a play off from the way the CDC usually tracks influenza, which is usually tracked by "influenza like illness" or ILI. This new term is called "Covid like illness" or CLI, and it follows the same path.
During a regular flu season, not everyone diagnoses with the flu gets a flu test. If you show up to a healthcare facility with "influenza like illness" you're marked as a flu case, and given your medicine and sent home. With CLI now in play, how many "COVID cases" are being treated the same? There is a distinct separation on the CDC charts that could suggest that's happening
The slow, or non-growth of ILI vs CLI suggests the surveillance measures lean to one direction over the other. Especially when compared to the annual ILI trends vs this flu season...
Based on the data presented by the Louisiana Department of Health, and the CDC, it would appear that either the flu has been defeated for the first time in human history, or there's an accounting issue between "influenza like illness" and "COVID like illness".