The double threat of Flu and Covid19; true concern or marketing clickbait during 2020.

The double threat of Flu and Covid19; true concern or marketing clickbait during 2020.

Is there a double threat of the Flu and Covid19?  According to Scientific American, both can potentially do damage to our health if they occur together. News, real or hype, you decide for yourself.

The Flu vaccine has been prepared in a multi-billion dollar commitment based on what was experienced in China last year.  During normal times and on a good year, the CDC claims that the flu vaccine is taken by 47.8% of the population in 2017 which was described in The Nations Health, a publication of the American Public health Association.

Why is a Flu outbreak highly unlikely this year?

  • Communication of the Flu requires travel and movement within the population.   During this pandemic, very little movement has occurred which will reduce Flu Transmission.
  • Most of us are wearing masks, which markedly reduces transmission of Covid19 and many other contagions.
  • Social Distancing is being practiced by most of us which also further reduces the risk of Flu and Covid19 transmission.

Little or no Flu in the Southern Hemisphere during their Fall and Winter months.

There is no proof that there will even be a Flu season this year.   In the Southern Hemisphere which will be entering Spring now, there has been hardly any Flu.  According to the Advisory Board, compared to previous years, health officials are attributing the decline to widespread coronavirus restrictions such as mask-wearing, travel restrictions, and social distancing.

What this means is that if people do not travel, social distance, or wear masks, they are markedly reducing the likelihood of catching the latest Flu virus from last year in China.

Regardless of these facts, the government has spent billions on their Flu program and if they do not disseminate it, it all goes to waste.   This is not dissimilar to the urgent messages we hear at the end of February this year to get your vaccination as the season winds down, which is when the risk of a Flu infection is less likely.   Many doctors do tell their patients that immunization may prevent them from being infected by other strains.  This is at best a guess or at worse hyperbole.

Why the big push to get vaccinated in a year with such low transmission rates.

Vaccinating the public is big business.   Most of us never consider this as fear is used to drive us to our local CVS, Walgreens, or doctors’ offices to get our shot.   In an average year, according to the CDC, the Flu affects 3-11% of the population so the risk averages out to 8%, or in other words, you are 92% not likely to get the Flu on an average year. This is not an average year.

Flu season hype is seen in the news, on Facebook, and on other media with pictures of full doctors’ offices and busy emergency rooms.   This is a large part of what drives the fall and early winter medical business.   CVS, Costco, and other stores offer it because even though the profit margin is low, people will also buy other things they sell at a higher profit margin

In doctor’s offices, people will come in for their Flu shot and an exam and may have another health problem that drives their bottom line during these seasons. These other services drive their profit margins higher.

What would happen if you had little reason to visit the doctor or Walgreens?

A combination of a multi-billion yearly commitment and the business models of many stores and healthcare providers profit from Flu season.   While the flu shot is advertised as something that is preventative for you, during this Flu season, what are you preventing that your mask, social distancing, and a lack of travel have already prevented?

Perhaps, this is why state governments like New Jersey are having bills pushed to mandate the flu vaccine.  Is this drug company and medical professional hubris, and is this really about our health, or about the health of the profits the bill’s sponsors will lose if we reexamine this policy as we head into a possible second year of a pandemic?

There is some risk regarding the Flu shot and you will have a minor reaction of either soreness at the site of injection or your body may experience minor symptoms.  If you avoid it altogether, is your risk actually lower this year?   This is something to think about during 2020.