Public health experts are raising the alarm about a potentially severe winter flu season.
“There is a lot of uncertainty about the 2021-2022 influenza season,” epidemiologist Lauren Ancel Meyers, director of the University of Texas Covid-19 Modeling Consortium, told CNBC.
“As with Covid, when somebody recovers from a seasonal influenza infection, they retain some level of immunity that protects them against future infection, at least for a short period of time. Since our Covid mitigation measures prevented influenza transmission last year, there are not a whole lot of people who were recently infected,” she said.
“So we may be entering flu season with a higher level of susceptibility than usual, which could exacerbate the risks,” she added.
Whether or not the flu season turns out to be more severe this year could depend both on the evolution of the virus and decisions made at a personal level, Ancel Meyers believes.
“As we have learned from the last 18 months of the Covid-19 pandemic, the decisions we make as individuals and communities can have a huge impact on the fate of an outbreak. We can and should do our part to prevent a catastrophic flu season, by getting vaccinated early this fall and taking sensible precautions if and when the virus starts spreading widely,” she said.