Flu Season Disappeared in the Southern Hemisphere This Year

Ever since we all started wearing masks and social distancing because of COVID-19 I’ve been wondering whether this would have an effect on other illnesses. Will we have fewer colds? Less flu? It seems like we should.

And sure enough, that appears to be the case. Down in the southern hemisphere, where winter flu season started several months ago and is now over, there hasn’t been a winter flu season. Literally. Here’s an excerpt from some charts originally published by the Economist:

That’s pretty remarkable, and it looks the same in other southern hemisphere countries too. Presumably this means that if we get our act together and persuade everyone to wear their damn masks and stay six feet apart, we could have a very light flu season too. That would be a huge win since epidemiologists are universally worried about the possibility of both flu and COVID-19 coinciding later in the year.

So keep wearing your masks. Continue with your social distancing. And get a flu shot!

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FACT:

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Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2021 demands.

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