Pennsylvania’s low flu activity due ‘in part to COVID-19 mitigation efforts’


Mark Moran /The Citizens’ Voice via AP)

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Flu activity across the commonwealth has reached a low point since this time last March thanks in part to the coronavirus pandemic according to Acting Secretary of Health Alison Beam.

“In recent years, flu activity has been widespread across Pennsylvania,” Acting Secretary of Health Alison Beam said. “Last season was higher than usual with more than 11,000 cases of flu this time of year. That is a stark difference from where we are in 2021; below 3,000 cases. We can attribute the low flu activity in part to COVID-19 mitigation efforts that are also effective in preventing the flu, since the two infectious diseases spread the same way. In addition, a record number of individuals got their flu vaccine this season.”

Health experts indicate the 2020-21 season to be comparable to the 2015-16 season when the H1N1 flu virus predominated.

As of February 27, there have been 2,816 laboratory-confirmed flu cases and 14 flu-associated deaths statewide. The full flu report can be found on the 2020-2021 flu season webpage, here.

Acting Secretary of Health Alison Beam and Deputy Secretary of Health Preparedness and Community Protection Ray Barishansky today highlighted that flu activity has been, and remains, low across the commonwealth and nationally this flu season.

“It is great that flu activity is so low, but this is not the time to let down our guard, rather it is a testimony to the mitigation efforts in place to slow the spread of infectious diseases,” Deputy Secretary of Health Preparedness and Community Protection Ray Barishansky said. “If you have not already done so, please get your flu vaccine today for extra protection against the virus. Let’s continue to do our part to stop the spread of flu and COVID-19 by wearing a mask, washing your hands, social distancing, and following all of the mitigation efforts in place.”

Health experts encourage Pennsylvanians to practice healthy habits such as covering their mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, frequently washing hands, and remembering to disinfect commonly touched objects including doorknobs, light switches, countertops, cell phones and computers.

In addition to getting vaccinated, Pennsylvanians can practice COVID-19 safety measures such as wearing a mask, social distancing and avoiding small and large gatherings.

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