COVID precautions keeping flu numbers low, doctors suspect

There is a new a glimmer of hope for us on this Thanksgiving. Doctors report that they're not seeing a wave of flu hospitalizations in addition to those hospitalized with the coronavirus -- and we're learning there's a few reasons flu numbers are staying low. 

Doctors say the precautions taken to slow the spread of COVID-19 could be one of them. So things like masks, social distancing, and hand hygiene are keeping people safe in more ways than one. 

It's still early in the flu season for the U.S., but the CDC's flu-view tools show more than 100,000 people tested for flu since September with less than a third of a percent coming back positive.

Doctors even say the number of patients and phone calls they're getting for respiratory symptoms from the flu have been less. 

Herd immunity will happen quickly with widely-available COVID-19 vaccine, medical expert says

Even though COVID-19 cases are surging across the country, we are still very far from achieving herd immunity from the virus. Local medical experts say once a vaccine is released, we should get there relatively quickly, but we need to remain vigilant.

Despite the lower numbers at the outset of flu season, there's still reason to be on alert. Rick Farmer, along with his wife and two boys, all contracted COVID-19 back in June. With the effects still lingering, Farmer says he's still concerned about getting sick with flu as well.

“Nobody really knows what the long-term effects are going to be and will it affect other diseases like the flu which is obviously a similar type of disease,” he offered. “Is it going to make it worse?”

Farmer says his whole family got their flu shots to be safe, and like the rest of us, he's happy to hear doctors say the flu numbers are down globally. Nonetheless doctors emphasizing it's critical for everyone to get the flu shot this year. This will help keep numbers low and protect you and those around you. 

If this trend continues after Thanksgiving and through Christmas, we may not see that 'twindemic' effect a lot of people were afraid of.