January 4th – Against the background of the 2020 COVID-19 epidemic, France’s protective measures against the epidemic have had a side effect, which is to hinder the spread of the influenza virus.
According to the newspaper Figaro, the French public health department reported that although the COVID-19 epidemic broke out in France, the flu epidemic had not yet begun, thanks to the defensive measures taken against the novel coronavirus.
Influenza surveillance bulletins, health agencies pointed out that the impact of influenza virus has decreased significantly this quarter compared with previous years.
Since monitoring began at the end of September and the beginning of October 2020, there has been no active spread of influenza virus in mainland France, and no serious influenza cases have been reported by surveillance authorities during the same period.
There is no record of influenza patients admitted to hospital. In contrast, from early November to the end of December 2019, the influenza virus caused 61 severe patients to be admitted, nine of which occurred in the last week of December.
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, French health authorities have been reminding people to wash their hands frequently, use disinfectant hand sanitizer gels, maintain interpersonal distance, and impose the wearing of masks in recent months.
This series of protective measures against COVID-19 is also very helpful for the prevention and control of other common winter viruses that cause influenza or stomach diseases.
In mid-December 2020, the World Health Organization noted in its report that the number of influenza vaccinations against vulnerable people has increased.
The French authorities also particularly encourage influenza vaccination to avoid the combined risk of influenza and the novel coronavirus and avoid overloading the emergency rooms of hospitals that are already stressed.
At present, 13 million French people have been vaccinated against influenza, compared with about 10 million in the same period in 2019.
Cold weather in winter usually causes the spread of influenza virus, causing many elderly people, people with poor immunity or respiratory diseases to be hospitalized.
In France, influenza complications kill 10,000 to 15,000 people every year, which is unprecedented this winter. However, the surveillance of influenza in the health sector is still in progress.
The almost disappearance of the flu occurred not only in France, but also in Europe as a whole, even in the southern hemisphere. Due to the climate, the southern hemisphere is a winter influenza outbreak from June.
However, there are few large outbreaks this season, and the number of influenza patients in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Argentina is very small. It remains to be seen whether the novel coronavirus will affect the activity of the influenza virus to some extent.