Letter to the Editor

Association of the US COVID-19 Pandemic and Attenuated Influenza Detection

Authors: Robert P. Lennon, MD, JD, Erin L. Miller, BS, Huamei Dong, PhD, David Rabago, MD, Aleksandra E. Zgierska, MD, PhD


To the Editor: To decrease the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), 32 states initiated stay-at-home orders (“lockdowns”) by March 31, 2020.1 Influenza places a substantial burden on the United States, with up to 45 million symptomatic infections and 61,000 deaths per year,2 and an estimated total annual economic burden of $122 billion (2020 dollars).3 Influenza, like coronaviruses, is transmitted through respiratory droplets or direct contact. Interventions to prevent COVID-19 infection should decrease influenza infection.
Posted in: Infectious Disease53

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Table. Comparison of predicted 2019–2020 influenza infections to actual infections, weeks 12–20a

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2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Disease burden of influenza [Internet]. https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/burden/index.html. Published June 1, 2020. Accessed September 15, 2020.
3. Molinari N-AM, Ortega-Sanchez IR, Messonnier ML, et al. The annual impact of seasonal influenza in the US: measuring disease burden and costs. Vaccine 2007;25:5086–5096.
4. Jones N. How coronavirus lockdowns stopped flu in its tracks. Nature 2020;10.1038/d41586- 020-01538-8.
5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National, regional, and state level outpatient illness and viral surveillance. https://gis.cdc.gov/grasp/fluview/fluportaldashboard.html. Published June 1, 2020. Accessed July 22, 2020.