Flu cases and also deaths from the 2020–2021 season were substantially lower than usual—and that can spell problem for this year"s flu season.

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Flu season in the US, which operation from October through May, normally claims tens the thousands of lives every year. However there's never ever an exact number of flu deaths for any type of year—that's since the flu is not a reportable condition in most states, and not anyone who establishes the flu seeks care or it s okay tested, according to the us Centers for condition Control and Prevention (CDC). Instead, the firm develops estimates based upon rates that laboratory-confirmed, flu-associated hospitalizations.


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Last year, however, together the COVID-19 pandemic overcame the US, influenza instances were at an all-time low: Data indigenous the CDC, supplied to JAMA, reflects that out of 1.3 million specimens gathered by labs between October 3, 2020 and also July 24, 2021, only 2,136 were optimistic for influenza. That those 2,136 influenza cases, there were only 748 flu-related deaths.

That's a huge difference native the rates of the 2019–2020 flu season. Per the CDC, there were an estimated 35 million flu-related illnesses—that number contains 16 million medical visit because that the flu; 380,000 flu-related hospitalizations; and 20,000 deaths as result of influenza.

Of course, those data are only from two certain years—and they display two really different methods the flu influenced the us population. Here's what you have to know about how many world die native the flu every year, top top average, what infectious condition experts are expecting because that the upcoming 2021–2022 flu season, and also how to defend yourself.

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According to data built up by the CDC indigenous 2010 to 2020, the firm estimates the the flu has caused 12,000–52,000 deaths annually. Throughout that time, the flu likewise caused 9 million–41 million illnesses, and 140,000–710,000 hospitalizations. Globally, the civilization audioeditorfree.com organization (WHO) estimates that the flu death 290,000 come 650,000 people per year.  

Those numbers can vary so lot from year come year, because what we recognize as "the flu" isn't one specific thing—it's actually made up of various influenza strains the circulate. "How many people die that the flu yearly of the flu is absolutely related come the strains that room circulating, how accurately researcher were able come predict what should get in the flu vaccine, and how many people are vaccinated," Anjali Mahoney, MD, MPH, family members medicine specialist with Keck medicine of USC, tells audioeditorfree.com.

Certain influenza strains can likewise be much more severe 보다 others. "Sometimes there are years whereby there are big genetic shifts, and also we have the right to see a very different virus," Cassandra Pierre, MD, MPH, an infectious disease physician in ~ Boston clinical Center, speak audioeditorfree.com. Robert L. Murphy, MD, a professor of transmittable diseases in ~ Northwestern medication Feinberg institution of Medicine, agrees, saying the the flu virus is constantly changing. " it have the right to be a nastier strain," he speak audioeditorfree.com. "It walk up and down."

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It's much too shortly to say, however experts space still worried about what can happen. "We're mildly terrified about how things might unfold with flu season this year," James H. Conway, MD, FAAP, a pediatric infectious condition specialist and associate director for wellness sciences at the global audioeditorfree.com academy of UW-Madison, speak audioeditorfree.com.

This is for a couple of reasons. First: Australia—which has actually its winter and also flu season throughout summertime in the US—didn't have a flu season this year. While that could be an excellent news for a much less severe season in the US, it also spells trouble for vaccine formulation. "Usually as soon as the powers that be room trying to number out i beg your pardon strains to put in the vaccine, they are basing the on what circulated in the southerly hemisphere during summer," claims Dr. Conway. "They didn't have any type of flu season, so the powers that be couldn't figure out widespread flu strains."

The low numbers the flu situations last year could additionally negatively influence this year's flu season. With lower-than-usual rates of both flu vaccinations and flu cases, the US population is "relatively immunologically naive," says Dr. Conway—that way we don't have any kind of leftover immunity from critical flu season. Pair that with more people going out right into public much more often through lessening mask restrictions, and also it could lead come a potentially more severe flu season 보다 last year.

The simple answer here: gain vaccinated ASAP. "The only protection people can get is obtaining vaccinated and also being careful about respiratory viruses," claims Dr. Conway.

The CDC recommends that everyone 6 months and also older obtain a flu vaccine every year. It's the first and most necessary step that world can take to guard versus the flu and also its complications. The flu have the right to be harder to fight turn off for details populations, such together infants and young children, the elderly, and also people who room immunocompromised as result of chronic illnesses such as HIV or cancer—so it's especially for those populaces to obtain vaccinated, possibly with a high-dose flu shot, if authorized by your doctor.

Those recommendations placed in location for protection against COVID-19 can additionally come in handy when preventing the flu virus. "Everybody masking throughout winter months could assist a lot with avoiding flu deaths," claims Dr. Conway. "That's done pretty frequently in some locations of the world. That may be as lot a part of our significant protection as significant vaccines." In addition to that, Dr. Conway argues that world remain vigilant around staying home from work and also school as soon as they're ill. Suitable handwashing and disinfecting surfaces can help keep illnesses in ~ bay, as well.