COVID Masking Has Led to Dramatically Fewer Flu Cases in New York

A few months ago, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo was warning New Yorkers of a potential double whammy, with the flu season kicking in in November and potentially piggybacking on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. But it appears that people who are following COVID precautions—and getting flu shots—has helped stymie it, at least in the interim.

According to CBS’ local affiliate, New York State has about 1,700 flu cases statewide, but last year, at the same time, the state had nearly 5,000 cases. (Per the real-time flu data tracked by the state, Saratoga County, for example, has just three cases, while Albany County has zero.) “The fact that most people are wearing masks, and most people have a completely different level of awareness of infection and control” is the reason for the dramatically lower numbers, says Dr. Elizabeth Whalen, Albany County’s health commissioner. That, and more people are getting inoculated with the flu vaccine.

Of course, people need to be aware that the flu is a completely virus strain than COVID and affects the body in an entirely different way, despite many of the symptoms being similar.

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