A new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study suggests that social distancing and other measures to stop the spread of SARS-CoV-2 could help reduce the impact of flu this fall and winter in the United States if widely practiced.

U.S. flu activity declined sharply within two weeks of the COVID-19 emergency declaration and widespread implementation of community mitigation measures, including school closures, social distancing and mask wearing, the study found.

The decline also occurred in other Northern Hemisphere countries and the tropics, and Southern Hemisphere temperate climates have had virtually no flu circulation, the authors said. “

However, in light of the novelty of the COVID-19 pandemic and the uncertainty of continued community mitigation measures, it is important to plan for seasonal influenza circulation this fall and winter,” they add. “Influenza vaccination for all persons aged 6 months remains the best method for influenza prevention and is especially important this season when SARS-CoV-2 and influenza virus might cocirculate.”

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