TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Just a couple months ago there was a large push for people in Arizona and across the country to get the flu vaccine to prevent added burden on hospitals already stretched thin because of COVID-19. One local doctor is considering it a success.
“This is the flu season that wasn’t, thank heavens,” said Dr. Sean Elliott, an Infectious Disease Doctor at Tucson Medical Center.
Dr. Elliott reacts to the nearly 90 percent drop in reported Arizona flu cases this season, as reported by state health officials.
“All of the social distancing the mask wearing the hand washing that staying home all of those have had a significant impact in reducing the cases of flu,” said Dr. Elliott.
Dr. Elliot says there is another likely factor leading to the decline in cases- a lack of international travel.
“A major source of spread of the flu from the southern hemisphere up here to north America is via international travel,” said Dr. Elliott. “That has not happened. It’s almost as if the virus wasn’t introduced into this country.”
Dr. Elliott says he is thankful so many people got their flu shot this year.
“Not that things are rosy right now, from the covid numbers alone,” said Dr. Elliott. “We’re grateful that things are not worse with the addition of flu.”
Dr. Elliott and many other health care workers were growing more concerned about the possibility of a twin-demic.
“Prior to the flu season we were very close to running out of resources,” said Dr. Elliott. “Add to that any additional burden and It was almost inconceivable how we would survive that.”
“We can not relax our guard because were still in a fight here,” said Dr. Elliott.
Dr. Elliott says it is not too late to get a flu shot if you haven’t had yours yet. Though- you should not get a flu shot within two weeks of a scheduled COVID vaccine. He also says it is important to continue to wear masks because like COVID-19 the flu is mostly spread through particles in the air.