The flu, which nearly disappeared last year, is returning to Europe at a faster rate than expected this winter, sparking fears that the combination of flu and COVID-19 will create a prolonged “double epidemic” as some question the effectiveness of the flu vaccine.
Lockdowns, mask wearing and social distancing became the norm in Europe during last winter’s COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) epidemic, European Union figures show, eradicating the flu, temporarily eradicating a disease that kills around 650,000 people globally each year. Viruses that kill people.
The European Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (ECDC) reported in January that the flu virus has spread faster than expected in Europe since mid-December.
The number of flu cases in European intensive care units rose steadily in December, reaching a peak of 43 cases in the last week of the year, according to the European Centre for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization.
The data shows that if compared with 2020, the number of influenza cases has risen sharply. In December 2020, there was only one case of influenza in the ICU.
The return of the flu virus could be the start of an unusually long flu season that could stretch into the summer, Pasi Penttinen, a senior influenza expert at the European Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, told Reuters.