The outbreak of Covid-19 and the preventive measures recommended to slow spread of the virus had at least one unexpected result — seasonal flu cases nearly disappeared in the United States.
The Genesis Flu-Free Quad Cities effort will be back this fall to hopefully continue the steep decrease of flu diagnoses in the region, according to a Friday release.
Genesis Flu-Free Quad Cities provides free seasonal influenza vaccinations in elementary schools throughout the region. Since the start of Flu-Free Quad Cities as a pilot project in 2003, more than 100,000 vaccinations have been provided at no cost to families.
“Health experts believe masking, social distancing, frequent hand washing, less interaction between school students and high flu vaccination rates were all factors in the huge drop in flu cases nationally,” said Michele Cullen, RN, BSN, community health manager, Genesis Visiting Nurses. “Fortunately, there were very few hospitalizations at Genesis because of flu. We hope we can make this a trend in our region with the impact of Flu-Free Quad Cities.”
A feared viral convergence referred to as a “twindemic” didn’t materialize in 2020. Instead, it was an unusually mild flu season, Genesis said in the release.
Positive influenza cases in the U.S. dropped from 38 million in the 2019-2020 flu season to just 2,136 positive cases in the 2020-2021 season, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). There were 22,000 deaths related to flu in the 2019-2020 season. There were 748 flu-related deaths in the 2020-2021 season.
In comparison, there have been roughly 700,000 Covid-related deaths nationwide since early 2020, including 27,665 in Illinois and 6,563 in Iowa.
Four family-friendly vaccination events will be part of the Flu-Free Quad-Cities effort this year.
The TaxSlayer Center in Moline is on the schedule for Oct. 12 from 3-6 p.m. and on Oct. 26 from 3-6 p.m.
There will also be drive-through clinics on Oct. 13 and October 27 from 3-6 p.m. at Brady Street Stadium, Davenport.
Flu-Free Quad Cities is made possible by financial support from the Quad Cities River Bandits and GreenState Credit Union. Other businesses and individuals can also help sponsor a healthy community. For more information, go to www.genesishealth.com/give.