CNN Guest: ‘Lesson’ from Coronavirus Could Be Masking Up Every Winter to Fight the Flu

Vaccine Education Center Director Dr. Paul Offit said Wednesday on CNN’s “New Day” that the lesson from the coronavirus pandemic could be that “if we mask and social distance every winter, we will see a dramatic reduction in flu.”

Anchor Alisyn Camerota said, “It’s a huge benefit of wearing masks, the flu this year, doctors can find very little evidence of the flu.”

She asked, “The fact that last year, at exactly this time, the positivity rate of flu was 30%. This year, 0.1%. I mean, that’s got to be masks, right? And the fact that people are social distancing.”

Offit said, “That’s right. Typically, every year between 150 and 200 children die of influenza. This year, so far, one child has died of influenza. On Friday, March 5th, our FDA advisory committee will meet to discuss which flu strains we are going to pick to be in next year’s flu vaccine. We figure out what flu strains have been circulating in places like Australia and South America, which sort of predicts what strains are likely to come into our country. There’s been so little flu in those two areas. I think it’s going to be hard for us to try to figure out what flu strains to pick. But you’re right. If we mask and social distance every year, we will see a dramatic reduction in flu, which usually causes hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations and tens of thousands of deaths. I wonder whether that will be the lesson from this.”

Follow Pam Key on Twitter @pamkeyNEN


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.