NATIONWIDE - For weeks health care professionals have warned about a rise in seasonal flu cases while the country still grapples with the Covid-19 Pandemic, dubbed the "Twindemic."
Is this happening?
What You Need To Know
- Health care professionals tracking co-infection of coronavirus and the flu
- So far this flu season, very low activity of the flu nationwide
- Change in behavior because of Covid-19 might be leading to low flu activity as well
- More Coronavirus headlines
The short answer is too early to tell or not seeing it right now.
In fact, the CDC Flu tracker shows flu-related visits are about half the normal rate compared to previous seasons.
The surveillance map shows mostly every state in the union in green which means minimal activity for flu so far this season.
“Nationwide...1.5% of patient visits reported through ILINet were due to ILI. This percentage is below the national baseline of 2.6%,” posted on the CDC website.
In Florida, the Health Department reports even lower.
“During the last four weeks, the percent of influenza-positive laboratory results remained low,” said the Florida Health Department Flu Review.
Tampa General Hospital's Chief Medical Officer of Urgent Care powered by Fast Track, Dr. Paul Nanda said this might be because peak flu season in Florida is not until later December to February.
COVID-19 has also altered behavior: social distancing, face coverings and hand washing.
It’s also changing how doctors are approaching diagnosing and treatments for flu-like symptoms, said Dr. Nanda.
“So if someone comes in now with classic flu symptoms, my goal in urgent care is make sure they're not going to die first and foremost,” said Dr. Nanda. “So I'm immediately going to rule out Covid, so one I'll give a rapid Covid test on them and if that comes out negative in classic presentation, then I'm just going to treat them for the flu."
WEB EXTRA: TGH's Dr. Paul Nanda speaks to Spectrum Bay News 9 about COVID and the flu.
What will be available is an all-in-one test that can diagnose COVID-19 and the Flu at the same time.
Dr. Nanda said they haven't had to use them yet because the prevalence of flu is not high enough.
He said it's not just use these tests whenever you want.
It is use the right test for the right patient at the right time.
The Florida Health Department's Flu Review shows there are no new influenza-associated pediatric deaths reported last week.
Two flu seasons ago, they reported six by the same week.