Healthcare professionals are worried that the 2020-2021 flu season may be combined with increasing cases of COVID-19 to create a “twindemia”. If the cases of both respiratory diseases jump at the same time, hospitals may be overloaded with patients and as a result mortality may increase.
The flu season in the United States lasts from October to May, although cases tend to peak in December, January and February. Cases, hospitalizations and deaths may remain relatively low during some flu seasons, but in other years the flu is a much greater threat to public health. Since 2010, the cases have varied between 9 million and 45 million a year and between 12,000 and 61,000 deaths. Not all countries are affected equally. Alaska has the lowest number of deaths from influenza and pneumonia per capita from 201
All Australia, Chile and South Africa report mild flu seasons lasting from June to August 2020, which suggests that the same will be true for the US flu season 2020-2021. This is partly due to precautions such as masks and social distancing, which protect against both COVID-19 and the flu, which can lead to pneumonia.
Two influenza viruses – influenza A and B – are responsible for the seasonal flu season. New mutations in these viruses and levels of flu vaccination can affect the severity of the season. Adults over the age of 65 and children under the age of 5, and especially those under the age of 2, are at high risk of complications from the flu.
To determine the conditions in which the most deaths from influenza and pneumonia were observed, Stacker consulted with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to monitor pneumonia and influenza by the National Center for Health Statistics. This source includes deaths from influenza and pneumonia during all influenza seasons from 2013-2014 to 2020-2021.
In this history, countries are ranked based on the total number of influenza and pneumonia deaths per capita from 2013 to 2020. Stacker also determines the worst flu season in each country from 2013 to 2020, with the exception of the current season 2020-2021, based on the proportion of all deaths during the season caused by influenza and pneumonia. The data included in this story is as of October 3, 2020.
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