COVID-19/FLU: Flu practically vanished last year. Now doctors are bracing for potential ‘twindemic’

Health officials are urging Americans to get their flu shots, warning the flu season that didn’t materialize when most of society was shut down last year could come roaring back and strain hospitals in the months ahead.

Survey data released Thursday found slightly more than half of American adults plan to be vaccinated against influenza. That’s not much of a change from pre-pandemic surveys conducted by the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases, but health authorities are alarmed because some evidence points to a potentially more severe flu season. Experts say Americans have built up less natural immunity against influenza because so few were infected in 2020.

“This low flu activity was likely due to the widespread implementation of covid-19 preventive measures like masks, physical distancing and staying home,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky said in a Thursday briefing announcing flu vaccination efforts.

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