The 2017-2018 flu season was pretty bad in the US, with perhaps 45 to 50 million sick and an estimated 61,000 deaths. Last year (the 2018-2019 season) was more typical – 35.5 million sick and a little over 34,000 deaths (see CDC data HERE).
What about this year? The numbers are a little, shall we say, irregular. The season started out looking very similar to 2017-2018, and perhaps a little worse. The decline in cases was not dropping as quickly as it did in 2020. But then, around March, the 2020 flu cases started to fall off dramatically. Here is a chart that shows weekly flu cases for 2018, 2019, and 2020.
The grey line is the weekly number of flu cases reported by the CDC for each week in 2020. Notice how it is tracking, and perhaps surpassing, the blue line (2018) until about March. Then it begins to fall off quickly. In fact, if we accumulate weekly cases for 2018 – 2020 just through the middle of March we get the following:
About March is when we see the drop in 2020 flu cases begin. Redrawing the first graph starting in March and changing the y-axis makes it more obvious:
Blowing it up a little more, starting the x-axis in April, shows that from April on the weekly number of flu cases reported has been way below normal:
Another pie chart shows the remarkably low number of cases we have experienced in 2020 from the middle of March though the end of July:
So, again, we ask. Where is the flu? Be careful how you answer that. Your response may get you banned from social media!
P.S. If you are more of a numbers person, the link to the CDC website with flu data is at the top of this article. The weekly data for each year was much more difficult to discover, so I have put the CDC links here:
2018 weekly CDC flu data
2019 weekly CDC flu data
2020 weekly CDC flu data
Here is one table that records weekly flu cases for 2018, 2019, and 2020. Use it to make your own graphs!
|Date||2018 Totals||2019 Totals||2020 Totals|