Submitted by Dr. Greg Stewart
The flu season that was not: Masks, distancing and hand washing
For those who think masks, distancing and hand washing are not significant factors in limiting the spread of infectious diseases, you need only look at this year’s flu season. Below is a quote from Public Health Agency of Canada’s Fluwatch, dating through March 20, 2021:
To date this season, there has been no evidence of community circulation of influenza despite continued testing above seasonal levels. Influenza activity has remained below the threshold required to declare the start of the 2020-21 influenza season.
There is no other explanation than: we killed flu season. If you joined others in masking, distancing, and hand washing, you were a part of the solution. We know how flu spreads, and it was stopped by what we did. Without these activities we would have had the regular flu season and one can only imagine how COVID-19 would have spread as it is more contagious. Our death toll would have been devastatingly higher.
Below are two charts to show what you all have done to suppress the spread of airborne infectious disease. This was not expected but it does powerfully demonstrate the effects of our actions.
The box on the left shows that we have done more than the usual number of flu tests this year. The box on the right shows the dotted line as the usual level of positive tests and the red line running along the bottom is this year’s level of positive tests.
It is virtually zero.
If masking, distancing, and hand washing has had such a massive effect on flu, it is not illogical to assume these same activities have had a massive effect on containing the spread of COVID-19. Thousands and thousands of lives have been saved. Well done. Hang in there. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. Please be vaccinated.
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