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Pandemic measures lead to drop in flu cases, doctors say

Posted at 9:29 AM, Jan 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-08 09:29:43-05

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — As cases of COVID-19 continue to rise, flu numbers have dropped in Kentucky from previous years.

“I've never seen numbers of influenza like this ever before in my career of 25 to 30 years. This is rather unique,” said Dr. Robert Bratton, the chief medical officer at Lexington Clinic.

The Lexington-Fayette County Health Department reported 742 lab-confirmed flu cases and three deaths during the 2019-20 season. This season, the department has zero lab-confirmed cases so far.

Bratton says the reason for the drop could be from safety measures taken to stop the spread of COVID-19.

“The fact that we're wearing masks. The facts that we're socially distant. We're washing our hands more. We're not meeting in big groups,” he said.

Bratton also says he's seen more people get the flu shot and getting it earlier in the season.

With COVID-19 cases rising though, he says it shows just how much more contagious the coronavirus is than the flu virus. Still, Bratton doesn't want people to forget about the flu and says if people continue to practice safety measures, he's hopeful flu numbers will remain low through the spring.

“What we don't want to see is the numbers of COVID that we have now and then on top of that start to see rises in influenza, because that could be a disaster,” said Bratton.