One interesting note today is that there has been almost no flu across the U.S. this winter. Emergency rooms that were overwhelmed with influenza last winter see none of it now and in fact, in most areas, they have not identified a single patient infected with Influenza A.
Why has COVID-19 continued to spread in the U.S. at the same time influenza has been totally controlled. This probably says a lot about the two viruses and our attempts to control them.
Influenza, as compared to COVID-19, is harder to spread. A single person normally infects only a few other people. Despite this, once infection occurs, the disease is highly pathogenic and causes significant illness in almost everyone who gets infected. So people know when they are infected with flu and dread the illness.
We also have an effective vaccine this year, and the increase in vaccinations was due to awareness of COVID-19. This, masks, and social distancing helped reduce infection numbers.
As we have come to understand, COVID-19 is a different animal entirely. COVID-19 can be spread fairly readily, and we’re now aware of super spreader events where a single individual can infect a large number of people at a single time. In contrast to influenza, SARS-CoV-2 is not as pathogenic as influenza virus. Many people do not get sick with this infection, and most survive with significant, but not life-threatening, symptoms.
Therefore, why then are so many people sick with COVID-19? Again, the virus is endemic in our population now, and there are so many infected people that even a smaller percentage of seriously ill individuals results in a lot of sick folks!
I see statements from anti-vaxxers who dismiss the Covid-19 vaccines because in the studies, you needed to vaccinate a couple hundred people to prevent one case of COVID-19. They simply do not understand why this was the case in the trials.
Most folks in the vaccine trials were careful to avoid COVID-19. They weren’t going to super spreader events or going into crowds indoors without a mask. The likelihood they would get infected with COVID-19 was pretty low, so it took a lot of vaccinations to prevent a single infection.
Now, look around as you go to the store, or have to go to work in a crowded warehouse or factory.
Maybe you went into a restaurant to get takeout. How many folks are wearing masks?
A lot more people out there are infected. Given this, most folk’s risk of infection is much higher now than at the time of the vaccine studies, if only because of the number of infected people! Therefore, the vaccines will actually prevent many more infections than when they were tested given the current, increased likelihood of COVID-19 infection.
Remember: do the math….
No one has died from a COVID-19 vaccine.
No one has been seriously injured from a COVID-19 vaccine.
360,000 Americans have died from COVID-19
We are averaging over 200,000 new COVID-19 cases a day.