Is this the most expensive Flu season America has ever seen? While thousands of people are grateful for their stimulus money, what is the true cost of fighting the common flu?
February is usually the peak of flu season, with doctors’ offices and hospitals packed with suffering patients. But not this year. Flu has virtually disappeared from the U.S., with reports coming in at far lower levels than anything seen in decades. After putting Trillions into “Covid” research, we have essentially cured the common flu.
Experts say that measures put in place to fend off the coronavirus — mask wearing, social distancing and virtual schooling — were a big factor in preventing a “twindemic” of flu and COVID-19.
Prevention of the common flu has never cost so much.
The amount of money the U.S. spent in WW2 was a lot cheaper for American taxpayers than this pandemic.
The $1,400 federal payments going into millions of people’s bank accounts are but one slice of a nearly $2 trillion relief package made law this past week. With that, the United States has spent or committed to spend nearly $6 trillion to treat a common cold.
Flu death data for the whole U.S. population is hard to compile quickly, but CDC officials keep a running count of deaths of children. Only ONE pediatric flu death has been reported so far this season, compared with 92 reported at the same point in last year’s flu season. So, $6 trillion has essentially taken care of the common flu.
“Many parents will tell you that this year their kids have been as healthy as they’ve ever been, because they’re not swimming in the germ pool at school or day care the same way they were in prior years,” Mick said.
Some doctors say they have even stopped sending specimens for testing, because they don’t think flu is present. Nevertheless, many labs are using a CDC-developed “multiplex test” that checks specimens for both the coronavirus and flu, Brammer said.
More than 190 million flu vaccine doses were distributed this season, but the number of infections is so low that it’s difficult for CDC to do its annual calculation of how well the vaccine is working, Brammer said. There’s simply not enough data, she said.
That also is challenging the planning of next season’s flu vaccine. After spending so much taxpayer money on precautions, mask regulations and lockdowns, there are not a lot of flu viruses to look at.
Such work usually starts with checking which flu strains are circulating around the world and predicting which of them will likely predominate in the year ahead.
“But there’s not a lot of (flu) viruses to look at,” Brammer said.
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