It is panning out to be more like the 2011-2012 season with about 9 million infections versus last season with 38 million infections. The most telling statistic is that there is only ONE pediatric death reported this year linked to the seasonal flu. In years past, the number hovers around 200. It is thought that is an underestimation considering that some pediatric deaths which are precipitated by the flu, get coded with as an alternative underlying cause. So perhaps double, 400, in any given year. Even allowing for under-reporting, ONE, is a remarkable number! So many lessons to be learned. Wearing masks and keeping away from sick people can reduce the incidence of even seasonal flu.
What I plan to take away from this is that I’m going to quicker to wear a mask going forward. I’ve had sniffles and a cough and worked through it. I didn’t consider enough that I would be aerosolizing viral particles. That my workmates would inhale those and get sniffles, too. Some of those sniffles could turn out to be the flu. I will also be braver going forward and ask those around me who are sniffling or coughing to themselves don a mask.
The mask is a health tool that was sadly turned into a political tool. Let’s not throw the baby out with the bath water. Masks are cool. Let’s not abandon them when we finally abandon the pandemic.