As COVID-19 continues to rage on, it appears flu season has taken a literal backseat.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), national flu activity remains lower than usual this year. Last year, across the nation, there were 38 million flu cases, 405,00 flu hospitalizations and 22,000 flue deaths.

Not so this year, at least not yet.

Local doctors say they have seen little of the flu so far this year.

“We’ve seen a handful of cases,” said Dr. Andrew Hodges, of Scottsboro.

Dr. Mandi Allen-Bell, of Scottsboro, agreed, saying she’s only had one positive flu case.

Wendi Raeuchle, director of marketing at Highlands Medical Center, said the hospital hasn’t seen much of the flu either.

“We believe that can be attributed to people wearing masks, more hand washing and social distancing,” she said. “It could also be that more people got a flu shot this year.”

Raeuchle said there were a number of campaigns across the state encouraging people to get a flu shot this year.

“Flu shot messages could have resonated more because of the presence of COVID, influencing those who may not have gotten a flu shot in the past to get one this flu season.”

About 189 million flu vaccinations were given in the United States as of Dec. 4, according to the CDC. That’s the highest number of flu doses distributed to Americans during a single influenza season.

Hodges says don’t relax just yet though.

“Cases are likely down to due to all the public health measures,” he said. “Now, that we are back to work and school, the flu will start rearing its ugly head.”

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