The need to wear masks and maintain social distance has helped reduce the number of patients with influenza and other infections in an “unprecedented” way. However, there are fears that next year this will negatively affect our immunity.
Preliminary data show that the “coronavirus” restrictions introduced around the world, including recommendations and requirements to maintain social distance (at least one and a half to two meters from strangers) and wear masks, have helped to significantly reduce the incidence of seasonal flu and in general, Influenced the spread of other infections “unprecedentedly”, writes Reuters.
As the media notes, China, which was the first to take measures to combat Covid-19, has fewer reports of cases of measles (90 percent), mumps (70 percent), hepatitis (more than 20 percent) and gonorrhea ( approximately 7,500 patients per month this year, up from 12,100 in 2019). As for the flu, if earlier in the PRC about 290 thousand people a month fell ill with it, now this figure has dropped by more than 90 percent, to 23 thousand.
Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, and South Korea also have an “exceptionally low” incidence of influenza. “These are the lowest rates for other infections for this time of year. Usually in winter, the wards are overcrowded with children with wheezing in their sternum, but this year they are practically empty, “said Ben Marais, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Sydney.
According to experts, of course, all this will ease the burden on the health care system, but at the same time, there is a fear that such a record decrease in the incidence may negatively affect the immunity of people later. “It may happen that if we do not have infections this season, then next season there will be more vulnerable people. Of course, we will have to carefully monitor this, ”added Marais.
According to the World Health Organization, every year in the world from 290 thousand to 650 thousand people die from seasonal flu, from five to ten percent of the world’s population (about one billion) are sick with it. At the same time, WHO previously warned that data on a record decline in the number of cases of influenza should be “interpreted with caution”, since some countries simply have limited ability to keep statistics due to the pandemic.