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Will flu rates go down this year?


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First my legit question, as I want to hear the logic of this, and then y'all can go rabbit any zillion directions you want.

One, if masking (in general) is beneficial for the limiting spread of disease, then will flu rates go down this year?

Two, ( and I'm being hyperbolic here, but roll with me) since we know many masks are being worn incompletely or are crap worthless (come on, you pee in a bathing suit and you still peed in the water, if it's not covering your nose it's not doing anything, if you pull it down to talk to me it's not doing anything), then will my HAPPY MASK make me less likely to get the flu?

Three, why are some schools/universities justifying adding requirements for the Flu vaccine IF MASKS WORK? 

I know the whole masks work thing is completely vague and that "work" is relative. HM have some data. Those dinky Hanes cotton masks at Walmart have no data. Gaiters are known to be about worthless. But again, the gov'ts aren't delineating that they must be an evidence based kind, only that you COMPLY. So maybe we should say, if the gov't/policy masking mandate works (which is different from whether evidence based masks have some effect), then why the uptick in flu vaccine requirements?

I assume it's because they're trying to have less cases show up for covid testing to be discriminated. But wouldn't that be GOOD? Wouldn't that drive down the positivity rate and be GOOD? I mean, I keep watching CA (with Disneyland, hello, I'm motivated) and they want these draconian low positivity rates. As soon as they lift closures the rates will go up again anyway. So it seems to me people should get the flu, get other things, get tested, and drive that positivity rate DOWN.

And the only reason I'm terribly interested in this is because I want to take a cruise in 2021. I want neither the flu nor coronamess, because my goal is to have my butt on a cruise ship. :biggrin: So tell me oh wise ones, why the freak out about the flu if the gov't masking mandate (which allows for ineffective, low effective face coverings) works? Will I get the flu if I wear my HM diligently or am I SAFE? 

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I believe that flu rates will go down in areas where mask compliance is high. As for universities requiring the flu vaccine, I suspect that they have wanted to add it for years, and the climate s

The Dunning Kruger Effect The less one knows about a subject the more one tends to over-estimate ones knowledge. The more one knows about a subject the more one realizes how much he/she doesn't k

Because what "masks work" means is that they decrease transmission by some factor, and the factor depends on how good the mask is, how well you keep it on, how far away you stay away from people, etc.

8 minutes ago, PeterPan said:

Three, why are some schools/universities justifying adding requirements for the Flu vaccine IF MASKS WORK? 

This is the only thing I am going to address.  

This is part of the security theater.  It makes it look like they are doing something "to keep kids safe" and bonus....it doesn't cost them any money to do it.  Building more space and hiring more teachers to make classes smaller costs money.  Upgrading HVAC to systems that provide better ventilation and air filtration costs money.  And it's of course very true that the people who want their kids "safe" don't want to spend more money to do it either, so I get that schools can't just go spending money willy nilly.  But requiring flu vaccines doesn't cost them a penny really.  

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15 minutes ago, happysmileylady said:

This is the only thing I am going to address.  

This is part of the security theater.  It makes it look like they are doing something "to keep kids safe" and bonus....it doesn't cost them any money to do it.  Building more space and hiring more teachers to make classes smaller costs money.  Upgrading HVAC to systems that provide better ventilation and air filtration costs money.  And it's of course very true that the people who want their kids "safe" don't want to spend more money to do it either, so I get that schools can't just go spending money willy nilly.  But requiring flu vaccines doesn't cost them a penny really.  

Oh wow, I would not have thought of that. 

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I believe that flu rates will go down in areas where mask compliance is high.

As for universities requiring the flu vaccine, I suspect that they have wanted to add it for years, and the climate surrounding covid is making it easy to do this year.

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I think flu rates will go down because people are being more careful in general, mask or no mask.

I also think they will go down because last winter was unusually high for flu, partly because the vax was ineffective against half of the flu bugs.

I do think it is silly to mandate the flu vax in universities.  People who don't want the flu can choose to get themselves vaxed.

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If people remain conscientious about mask wearing AND hand washing flu rates should go down.  

Getting vaccinated for the flu adds another layer of protection:  

  • Coming down with any infectious disease weakens that person's immune system and makes the person more susceptible to other illnesses. 
  •  Tamiflu can decrease both the duration and severity of the flu, but only if taken within 36-48 of first symptoms.  The flu and COVID have similar initial symptoms, thus a patient will likely be directed to get a COVID test before other treatment.  By the time a negative result is obtained it may be too late for Tamiflu to be effective.  
  • The flu virus lingers on hard surfaces for hours.  

Universities along with many other major employers have been requiring employees and strongly encouraging students to get flu vaccinations for over a decade.  Many were providing free vaccination clinics long before insurance companies were required to cover vaccinations.  There is a financial incentive, thousands of vaccines are less expensive that loss of productivity due to large numbers of employees on extended sick leave and less expensive than large numbers of employees seeking medical care due to complications.     

I am surprised it has taken this long to switch from strongly recommended to mandated flu vaccines for university students, particularly for those in dorms or other group housing situations.  

 

 

 

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1 minute ago, kdsuomi said:

That's because CA wants to make it impossible for things with large numbers of people to open before the vaccine comes.

Oh that's interesting. I follow a disney blogger and his idea that getting it low will mean it stays low seems preposterous. But if they are stalling for a vaccine, that makes sense, even if it's (pick words). Well I guess we'll see. 

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1 minute ago, Sherry in OH said:

The flu and COVID have similar initial symptoms, thus a patient will likely be directed to get a COVID test before other treatment.  

That makes sense, but given the incredibly low positive test rates in ANY state, it doesn't seem wise. Makes more sense to assume you have something else, the more common problem. To me, these positivity rates of 1-10% mean that 90+% of the time when people think they have covid they have something else. 

So do you think tamiflu scrip rates will go down? I used it once two years ago and LOVE it, bless the med, oh my. I was coming off recurrent pneumonia and bronchitis for several years, so I would never want my access to the med to go down simply because there's the slight chance it could be something else. How are they telling docs to differentiate this? Seems like I'd rather have both. Actually though, the tamiflu effect was obvious within a day. So to me, I'd beg and plead for the scrip, take it, and test a couple days later if I'm not improving. But I'm at home, not trying to go to work. In reality, anyone on tamiflu needs to be home anyway. Only in a dorm that would be sticky. I think universities are quarantining no matter what.

So, duh, the flu vaccine logic is to decrease people in their quarantine locations. One big uni near us is putting kids up in a hotel!

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Just now, kdsuomi said:

If bars can't be open, I don't see how they could open amusement parks and maintain any shred of credibility.)

Our bars have to close by a certain time, because the tracing showed the highest transmission was at certain times of night. There's no reason to say amusement parks can't be open or even bars.

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2 hours ago, PeterPan said:

First my legit question, as I want to hear the logic of this, and then y'all can go rabbit any zillion directions you want.

One, if masking (in general) is beneficial for the limiting spread of disease, then will flu rates go down this year?

Two, ( and I'm being hyperbolic here, but roll with me) since we know many masks are being worn incompletely or are crap worthless (come on, you pee in a bathing suit and you still peed in the water, if it's not covering your nose it's not doing anything, if you pull it down to talk to me it's not doing anything), then will my HAPPY MASK make me less likely to get the flu?

Three, why are some schools/universities justifying adding requirements for the Flu vaccine IF MASKS WORK? 

I know the whole masks work thing is completely vague and that "work" is relative. HM have some data. Those dinky Hanes cotton masks at Walmart have no data. Gaiters are known to be about worthless. But again, the gov'ts aren't delineating that they must be an evidence based kind, only that you COMPLY. So maybe we should say, if the gov't/policy masking mandate works (which is different from whether evidence based masks have some effect), then why the uptick in flu vaccine requirements?

I assume it's because they're trying to have less cases show up for covid testing to be discriminated. But wouldn't that be GOOD? Wouldn't that drive down the positivity rate and be GOOD? I mean, I keep watching CA (with Disneyland, hello, I'm motivated) and they want these draconian low positivity rates. As soon as they lift closures the rates will go up again anyway. So it seems to me people should get the flu, get other things, get tested, and drive that positivity rate DOWN.

And the only reason I'm terribly interested in this is because I want to take a cruise in 2021. I want neither the flu nor coronamess, because my goal is to have my butt on a cruise ship. :biggrin: So tell me oh wise ones, why the freak out about the flu if the gov't masking mandate (which allows for ineffective, low effective face coverings) works? Will I get the flu if I wear my HM diligently or am I SAFE? 

Well the flu is not spread through the air like COVID.  It is spread on objects which is why they initially recommended all those cleaning tips.  But those are useless with COVID but not with the flu.  The flu will be less likely to be spread probably because many more people will get vaccines and also because of the cleaning plus the entire idea has now formed that sick people should not be walking around coughing on everyone, etc.  

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I don't have any handy citations, but I've heard that flu rates have been way down in many of the southern hemisphere countries. I would expect the same here in areas where mask compliance is high. I still got a flu vaccine this morning, for several reasons. First, I don't mask around family. Masking helps, it's not perfect. Plus with flu one can definitely get infected by touching a contaminated object and then touching nose, eyes, mouth.

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1 minute ago, Pawz4me said:

I don't have any handy citations, but I've heard that flu rates have been way down in many of the southern hemisphere countries. I would expect the same here in areas where mask compliance is high. I still got a flu vaccine this morning, for several reasons. First, I don't mask around family. Masking helps, it's not perfect. Plus with flu one can definitely get infected by touching a contaminated object and then touching nose, eyes, mouth.

Yes. dh and I are getting ours Saturday.  Apparently flu is already in our area.

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Yes I expect the flu to go down but that doesn't mean don't get a flu shot.  I mean condoms are proven to be 99% effective  when used correctly.  Yet, no one gets all bent out of shape when you say they should use a second form of birth control to be safe.   It's layers of protection none work 100% so do all that are reasonable. Not just for yourself but for public health.  

Edited by rebcoola
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3 hours ago, PeterPan said:

Will I get the flu if I wear my HM diligently or am I SAFE? 

 

Will you wear it diligently 24/7? Or will you take it off to eat, bathe, perhaps sleep?  

Will you also wash your hands before every time of touching a mucous membrane? Will you have goggles on too? 

If you will wear it diligently with no gaps 24/7, not remove it at all, and also use excellent hand hygiene and goggles, I think you are going to be pretty safe though nothing is 100%.  If you aren’t going to wear it 24/7 etc— then not.  

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I’m on several music teacher forums. Those who have gone back with masks and the other typical protocol stuff (washing hands before lessons, using hand sanitizer, easy makeups or moving online if either party is even slightly symptomatic for anything, using a second keyboard for demonstrations most of the time) are reporting lower rates of flu, colds, and other typical seasonal stuff. Given the number of times I’ve had kids cough or sneeze all over the piano-or me, I can well believe that this year might be one that it is easier to avoid the flu-last year, I didn’t have a week from about mid January until we went online in March that I didn’t have at least one student sick. 
 

And my allergy symptoms are definitely less this year. Whether that’s the mask, extra HEPA filters, not going to public places as much, not eating away from home, so I’m not getting cross contamination, or the extra antihistamines my allergist put me on in March, I can’t say. But If I get through the season without painful sinus infections or needing an epipen, I’ll take it. 

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I would expect it to be lower because

  • a substantial portion of people still avoid crowded indoor places and limit interaction with people
  • occupancy limits for public venues means fewer people in the space that can infect one another
  • distancing requirements (like on my campus) means less person-to-person contact
  • some people are wearing masks correctly; others at least make an effort
  • people may keep up the hand washing habit
  • people will be more likely to stay home when sick

 

Edited by regentrude
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5 hours ago, PeterPan said:

Three, why are some schools/universities justifying adding requirements for the Flu vaccine IF MASKS WORK? 

Because what "masks work" means is that they decrease transmission by some factor, and the factor depends on how good the mask is, how well you keep it on, how far away you stay away from people, etc. There's also surface transmission.

So, you know, here's some basic probability. Say that your chance of transmitting the flu goes down by 50% with a mask. And say your chance of getting the flu goes down by 50% with the vaccine. Then, drum roll, assuming independence of those two factors, the chance of a transmission is now 0.5*0.5  = 0.25. 

A lot of things work better in conjunction. It's not binary.

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2 hours ago, TravelingChris said:

Well the flu is not spread through the air like COVID.  It is spread on objects

I did not know this. You're completely sure of this? 

2 hours ago, sassenach said:

The Southern Hemisphere has already gone before us and the answer is yes, flu prevalence is MUCH lower this season.

Oh THAT'S interesting. It's what you would think should happen. I mean, I'm all Monk every time I use a checkout, when I get in my car, once I get home. We used to be a little careful with washing and using germicidal soaps at the entrance but now I'm draconian, stiff.

2 hours ago, rebcoola said:

Yes I expect the flu to go down but that doesn't mean don't get a flu shot. 

Yeah, that's a totally different discussion, lol. I'm just fascinated by the implications of it being spread by surfaces not air. So the mask makes (more or less) little difference, but the overall sanitation/hygiene going on does. And who knows, maybe our country would keep going being a little more sanitary. Wouldn't be all bad, lol. I mean, I don't really see a need to *remove* my sanitizer from my car. It's just a nothing, fine.

1 hour ago, Pen said:

 If you aren’t going to wear it 24/7 etc— then not.  

If flu is not airborne, the mask doesn't matter.

1 hour ago, dmmetler said:

Given the number of times I’ve had kids cough or sneeze all over the piano-or me, I can well believe that this year might be one that it is easier to avoid the flu-last year,

That is such a good point! And you know, what about people who blow their nose, etc. in stores? Seems like they might not being doing that but would choose to stay home so again reduction of transmission in the wild.

1 hour ago, regentrude said:

I would expect it to be lower because

  • a substantial portion of people still avoid crowded indoor places and limit interaction with people
  • occupancy limits for public venues means fewer people in the space that can infect one another
  • distancing requirements (like on my campus) means less person-to-person contact
  • some people are wearing masks correctly; others at least make an effort
  • people may keep up the hand washing habit
  • people will be more likely to stay home when sick

 

And yet, we still have thousands of people getting tested daily (and only a tiny fraction of them having covid) which means stuff IS transmitting and going around.

Seems like the distancing means diddly for flu if it transmits via surfaces. 

And no, in states like ours with mandates people are tired of it. They're telling each other not to bother, churches are giving up, people are sloppy in stores, etc. But I agree, people are staying home more when they're symptomatic, which is good.

I think that's a key point if it is correct that flu is by surface and covid airborn.

40 minutes ago, Not_a_number said:

Say that your chance of transmitting the flu goes down by 50% with a mask.

But if it's surface transmission, not airborne, then the mask makes less difference. I had no clue that was a possibility.

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2 hours ago, TravelingChris said:

Well the flu is not spread through the air like COVID.  It is spread on objects which is why they initially recommended all those cleaning tips.  But those are useless with COVID but not with the flu.  The flu will be less likely to be spread probably because many more people will get vaccines and also because of the cleaning plus the entire idea has now formed that sick people should not be walking around coughing on everyone, etc.  

This is not true

https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/disease/spread.htm#:~:text=Person to Person,be inhaled into the lungs.

Quote

People with flu can spread it to others up to about 6 feet away. Most experts think that flu viruses spread mainly by droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. Less often, a person might get flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes.

 

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7 minutes ago, PeterPan said:

I did not know this. You're completely sure of this? 

Oh THAT'S interesting. It's what you would think should happen. I mean, I'm all Monk every time I use a checkout, when I get in my car, once I get home. We used to be a little careful with washing and using germicidal soaps at the entrance but now I'm draconian, stiff.

Yeah, that's a totally different discussion, lol. I'm just fascinated by the implications of it being spread by surfaces not air. So the mask makes (more or less) little difference, but the overall sanitation/hygiene going on does. And who knows, maybe our country would keep going being a little more sanitary. Wouldn't be all bad, lol. I mean, I don't really see a need to *remove* my sanitizer from my car. It's just a nothing, fine.

If flu is not airborne, the mask doesn't matter.

That is such a good point! And you know, what about people who blow their nose, etc. in stores? Seems like they might not being doing that but would choose to stay home so again reduction of transmission in the wild.

And yet, we still have thousands of people getting tested daily (and only a tiny fraction of them having covid) which means stuff IS transmitting and going around.

Seems like the distancing means diddly for flu if it transmits via surfaces. 

And no, in states like ours with mandates people are tired of it. They're telling each other not to bother, churches are giving up, people are sloppy in stores, etc. But I agree, people are staying home more when they're symptomatic, which is good.

I think that's a key point if it is correct that flu is by surface and covid airborn.

But if it's surface transmission, not airborne, then the mask makes less difference. I had no clue that was a possibility.

 

Flu is spread in a multitude of ways.  Spray coming out of someone’s mouth or nose headed your way can at least be reduced with a mask

Mask is not perfect and neither is vaccine

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The flu is more contagious than Covid. So for people taking what would be pretty good precautions for Covid - for example, hanging out together masked - that might not be enough for the flu. 

My understanding is that the flu and Covid can both spread through droplets. But the evidence is pretty solid now that Covid can also be airborne, which is different than droplets hanging in the air. Someone correct me if I'm misunderstanding this. However, Covid doesn't seem to spread much through fomites (getting sick through touching stuff) but the flu absolutely spreads that way (even if droplets is more common).

My expectation is what others have said. Rates will likely drop in areas where hand washing and masking are high. The flu vaccine is an added layer of protection.

Some of the things that amount to hygiene theater for Covid will probably actually help with the flu. Like, all this wiping down of stuff constantly will probably help the flu rates, but not Covid.

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2 minutes ago, Farrar said:

The flu is more contagious than Covid. So for people taking what would be pretty good precautions for Covid - for example, hanging out together masked - that might not be enough for the flu. 

Is that definitely true? I've seen a mix of opinions on it. 

 

3 minutes ago, Farrar said:

My understanding is that the flu and Covid can both spread through droplets. But the evidence is pretty solid now that Covid can also be airborne, which is different than droplets hanging in the air. Someone correct me if I'm misunderstanding this. However, Covid doesn't seem to spread much through fomites (getting sick through touching stuff) but the flu absolutely spreads that way (even if droplets is more common).

That seems right, although I've also seen the opinion that "droplet" vs "aerosol" is needlessly binary. Like, there are droplets in a variety of sizes, and people picked some arbitrary cutoff for when it becomes "airborne" spread. 

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6 minutes ago, Not_a_number said:

Is that definitely true? I've seen a mix of opinions on it. 

 

That seems right, although I've also seen the opinion that "droplet" vs "aerosol" is needlessly binary. Like, there are droplets in a variety of sizes, and people picked some arbitrary cutoff for when it becomes "airborne" spread. 

It's definitely true that the flu has a higher unchecked transmissibility rate than Covid seems to. The jury is out a bit on precautions and how much they'll affect the flu. One thing I've observed is that people have gotten sort of chill about once they're away from others, they just go back to doing whatever with their mask off - including touching their faces without thinking much about it. Since Covid doesn't spread through fomites, that's probably not a huge deal. But since the flu DOES, I think that could be a bigger issue.

I agree that the cutoff between droplet and aerosol is arbitrary. But also, the smaller it is, the longer it can just hang out there. Which means that Covid poses a different danger, so I think it's fair to point out that there's a distinction. I have the impression that to scientists, it's a bit like a ball pit vs. a sandbox. The size is pretty different, even if there are a lot of sizes in between.

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4 minutes ago, Farrar said:

D'oh. You're right... I had it backwards. Covid is more contagious than the flu. 

Thank you very much for checking!! I did think so, but I wasn't certain. 

(By the way, I'm not actually a new poster. Not sure if you saw the thread.) 

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1 hour ago, happysmileylady said:

But the point is that a lot is spread by surfaces unlike COVID where none is.  Also flu people are more likely to be coughing, sneezing etc, and that does spread it,

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1 hour ago, PeterPan said:

And yet, we still have thousands of people getting tested daily (and only a tiny fraction of them having covid) which means stuff IS transmitting and going around.

Seems like the distancing means diddly for flu if it transmits via surfaces.

But how many more would there be if everybody did mix and mingle with the crowds? The fact that there are still infections doesn't mean distancing and masking are not working.
Flu does not JUST transmit via surface. And distancing also means fewer people's sneezes per surface area.

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I don't think I saw this linked, but flu rates were quite down in the southern hemisphere.  I've seen that from a number of sources

https://www.economist.com/graphic-detail/2020/09/12/the-southern-hemisphere-skipped-flu-season-in-2020

We will still get the flu shot.  We always do, it has always worked well for us and we have had the flu through our house a few times so would love to avoid at all costs.  And it's also not clear if one could get infected with covid and the flu at the same time. Seems like no reason why not.  

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8 hours ago, SKL said:

I do think it is silly to mandate the flu vax in universities.  People who don't want the flu can choose to get themselves vaxed.

Unfortunately, flu vaccine is not as effective as many others, so having a high rate of vaccination will help a lot to reduce transmission rates and number of cases. If the vaccine were 95% effective like some more effective vaccines, then your way would work. 

7 hours ago, kdsuomi said:

That's because CA wants to make it impossible for things with large numbers of people to open before the vaccine comes.

I’m not sure what you mean here. CA doesn’t want to open venues with large numbers of people until case numbers and transmission rates are down low enough to not risk a new big surge. It’s possible that will not happen until a vaccine. I expect CA would be ecstatic if community transmission stopped and they could open amusement parks prior to a vaccine.

 

2 hours ago, TravelingChris said:

But the point is that a lot is spread by surfaces unlike COVID where none is. 

I would love it if we could find out that this is true, but I don’t believe that’s where we are. My understanding is that airborne transmission is believed to be the primary way, and the vector most important for us to get on top of, but I haven’t yet seen anything that says surface transmission can’t/doesn’t ever happen. I can’t imagine a way that it wouldn’t happen sometimes, unless we learn something new about Covid19 that makes it different from other viruses that way. 

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9 hours ago, SKL said:

I think flu rates will go down because people are being more careful in general, mask or no mask.

I also think they will go down because last winter was unusually high for flu, partly because the vax was ineffective against half of the flu bugs.

I do think it is silly to mandate the flu vax in universities.  People who don't want the flu can choose to get themselves vaxed.

Vaccinations reduce the spread of diseases to those who cannot get vaccinated so it's never just as simple as self-protection. Also, the flu vaccine is an imperfect science but a well-vaccinated population has a lower spread of the flu. 

Vaccinations should be mandated to attend school with only a documented medical exemption. People who don't want the flu vax can choose to say out of school and away from everyone else. 

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1 hour ago, kdsuomi said:

Large venues are not part of the re-opening scheme that we currently have, at any level. You can't get to the lowest tier of this scheme until there's under 1 case per 100,000 in your county, and even at that level "large" venues are not part of the plan. So, nothing like that is opening until there is a vaccine, which is what I, and those in power here, have said.

That doesn't seem too onerous to me. The county I live in is currently at 0.2 cases/100,000 and we still don't have large venues open. Restaurants can only open at 50% capacity and people aren't grumping about it. Many restaurants haven't reopened to in-person dining even though they may. They're sticking with their takeout plans to be extra cautious. Getting under 1/100,000 is doable.

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8 hours ago, TravelingChris said:

Well the flu is not spread through the air like COVID.  It is spread on objects which is why they initially recommended all those cleaning tips.  But those are useless with COVID but not with the flu.  The flu will be less likely to be spread probably because many more people will get vaccines and also because of the cleaning plus the entire idea has now formed that sick people should not be walking around coughing on everyone, etc.  

I didn't know that!  Interesting.

I agree that flu rates will very likely be down.

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14 minutes ago, J-rap said:

I didn't know that!  Interesting.

I agree that flu rates will very likely be down.

Others disputed that and said flu is largely droplets, less so surfaces, and they had a CDC link.

 

 

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6 hours ago, PeterPan said:

I did not know this. You're completely sure of this? 

Oh THAT'S interesting. It's what you would think should happen. I mean, I'm all Monk every time I use a checkout, when I get in my car, once I get home. We used to be a little careful with washing and using germicidal soaps at the entrance but now I'm draconian, stiff.

Yeah, that's a totally different discussion, lol. I'm just fascinated by the implications of it being spread by surfaces not air. So the mask makes (more or less) little difference, but the overall sanitation/hygiene going on does. And who knows, maybe our country would keep going being a little more sanitary. Wouldn't be all bad, lol. I mean, I don't really see a need to *remove* my sanitizer from my car. It's just a nothing, fine.

If flu is not airborne, the mask doesn't matter.

That is such a good point! And you know, what about people who blow their nose, etc. in stores? Seems like they might not being doing that but would choose to stay home so again reduction of transmission in the wild.

And yet, we still have thousands of people getting tested daily (and only a tiny fraction of them having covid) which means stuff IS transmitting and going around.

Seems like the distancing means diddly for flu if it transmits via surfaces. 

And no, in states like ours with mandates people are tired of it. They're telling each other not to bother, churches are giving up, people are sloppy in stores, etc. But I agree, people are staying home more when they're symptomatic, which is good.

I think that's a key point if it is correct that flu is by surface and covid airborn.

But if it's surface transmission, not airborne, then the mask makes less difference. I had no clue that was a possibility.

Many people getting tested have no symptoms of anything at all. They are getting tested because they’ve been exposed, they need clearance for a medical procedure, their workplace or college requires it, etc,etc. 

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From Mayo Clinic and others
A common viral infection that can be deadly, especially in high-risk groups.
The flu attacks the lungs, nose, and throat. Young children, older adults, pregnant women, and people with chronic disease or weak immune systems are at high risk.

 
HOW IT SPREADS
By airborne respiratory droplets (coughs or sneezes).
By touching a contaminated surface (blanket or doorknob).
By saliva (kissing or shared drinks).
By skin-to-skin contact (handshakes or hugs).
For informational purposes only. Consult your local medical authority for advice.
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Totally my nonscientific opinion here

Flu rates should go down over past years. It might creep up in the NE when everyone is holed up in shared spaces in heated buildings, just like covid. 

Flu vaccines will help reduce the instance of contracting both flu and coronavirus.

College students haven't exactly proven themselves trustworthy when it comes to preventative measures. So if they put themselves in a situation where they could get the flu, they would also be likely to get the coronavirus. It's not so much about making them get a vaccine because masks don't work; it's because they don't comply 100%, they are college students after all. 

It's unlikely you'll make it on your cruise ship in 2021. It's sounding like the vaccines aren't a cure-all. They are hoping for 80% efficacy meaning 1 in 5 people will still get a mild case. The rest will be protected but could be asymptomatic carriers and spread it to others that haven't gotten the vaccine. Mask wearing will be around for a long time. With covid being airborne, would you want to be on an airplane for however long your cruise will be? Cause that's about what the air quality would be on the inside of a cruise ship. Only the cabins with a view might be slightly safer than anywhere on the ship. That is an industry that will be last last last to open back up. 

First of all, I'll just get out of the way that the CDC's messaging has been haphazard and terrible. If they were to regulate cloth masks, they would have to test every single brand and many would be taken off of the shelf and we'd be back to square one. There have been enough mask studies to prove what types are effective. so it's really up to people to do their homework. It also depends on what the goal is. Are we trying to protect other people, which most masks do adequately, or are we protecting the wearer in which case people will have to do their homework and make sure they are wearing it properly. 

Edited by Plum
It's late
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12 hours ago, sassenach said:

The Southern Hemisphere has already gone before us and the answer is yes, flu prevalence is MUCH lower this season.

We had a lot less flu in NZ.  But there was a huge push to immunise more people than usual and nearly all of us stayed totally away from people for 5 weeks late autumn and only in contact with a limited number until early winter and with social distancing of various levels the rest of the winter.  This is the first winter ever I didn't spend 2/3 of the time with a cough that made me vomit (asthma).  I would be happy to do it every year if we could make it work financially.  Even not symptoms that would normally be worked through are enough to make someone stay home.  We are not really wearing masks much unless on public transport or more crowded places.  I do carry one though in case.

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7 hours ago, TravelingChris said:

But the point is that a lot is spread by surfaces unlike COVID where none is.  Also flu people are more likely to be coughing, sneezing etc, and that does spread it,

Well it seems possible it can spread on surfaces so you clean but it is not that common.   

The lower rate of flu in NZ was not due to masking as we didn't mask much over winter.  It was due to increased vaccination and a severe limiting of person to person contact.  

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6 hours ago, Plum said:

With covid being airborne, would you want to be on an airplane for however long your cruise will be? Cause that's about what the air quality would be on the inside of a cruise ship. Only the cabins with a view might be slightly safer than anywhere on the ship. That is an industry that will be last last last to open back up. 

Cruising is already open in Europe, and the lines that have followed the protocols CLIA is proposing have apparently done fine. The lines that didn't follow the protocols had outbreaks. 

I have minimal concerns with flying. My dd has flown multiple times since covid started without issues. And no, a balcony cabin makes no difference in your safety because of the way the air dynamics work. You can't leave the balcony door open very long because everything blows around. It will be helpful if you're in your room for an extended period for any reason, but my understanding is they are designating quarantine cabins. There will also be rapid testing. The cruise lines are addressing the issue of recirculated air and filtration.

They've already been testing the protocols in Europe now for a while, so no I have no issues going forward in 2021. The only question is whether they'll have ramped up to the port I want. They're likely resuming in November with two ports out of Florida using the CLIA protocols. That assumes the CDC lifts the no sail order, which we'll know within a week.

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15 hours ago, FuzzyCatz said:

I don't think I saw this linked, but flu rates were quite down in the southern hemisphere.  I've seen that from a number of sources

https://www.economist.com/graphic-detail/2020/09/12/the-southern-hemisphere-skipped-flu-season-in-2020

We will still get the flu shot.  We always do, it has always worked well for us and we have had the flu through our house a few times so would love to avoid at all costs.  And it's also not clear if one could get infected with covid and the flu at the same time. Seems like no reason why not.  

The BBC reports that in the U.K. people are being advised to get the flu vaccine because it is indeed  possible to get both the flu and covid at the same time. 

"Research from Public Health England looking at Covid-19 illness between January and April among nearly 20,000 hospital patients suggests risk of death is more than doubled for people who catch flu on top of coronavirus, compared to coronavirus alone.

"Flu by itself can also be a serious condition - it kills around 11,000 people in England each year and hospitalises many more.

"People at high risk from flu are also most at risk from Covid-19."

 

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17 hours ago, kand said:

Unfortunately, flu vaccine is not as effective as many others, so having a high rate of vaccination will help a lot to reduce transmission rates and number of cases. If the vaccine were 95% effective like some more effective vaccines, then your way would work. 

 

I thought the reason it wasn't so effective was because it only targets certain flu strains, and some years (like this past year) they miss the strain(s) that are going to be most rampant / deadly.  My being vaxed will not save anyone else from catching what the vax doesn't prevent.

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