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As COVID-19 Pandemic Rages On, Influenza Activity Remains Low

Kai Pilger
Experts say the influenza activity level is down due to COVID-19 related prevention measures.

State health officials are reporting flu activity this year in Iowa is very low due to the measures the public is taking to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

As the coronavirus continues to spread across Iowa and the rest of the U.S. health experts say the activity for another virus — influenza — is very low this season.

Iowa Department of Public Health State Medical Director Caitlin Pedati said that’s thanks to people taking preventative measures, like social distancing and wearing face masks, to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

"If you think about the fact that if we really do these good things right — keep that distance, you know, use a face mask, wash your hands, stay home when we're sick — that can really keep a variety of viruses from moving among us," Pedati said.

Last year, at the start of flu season, public health experts expressed concern about the strain the respiratory virus could have on a health care system already dealing with many COVID-19 cases.

Pedati said the number of Iowans who have received a flu shot is comparable to 2018 and 2019, but she encouraged those who have not yet received a shot this season to do so.

Natalie Krebs is IPR's Health Reporter