Published 23 September 2021
A new article published in The Atlantic, on the upcoming 2021-22 flu season, includes two PHDL members, research faculty Mary Krauland, PhD, and postdoctoral researcher Kyueun Lee, PhD. Measures put in place to combat COVID-19 disease resulted in the 2020-21 flu season being essentially nonexistent. Researchers are concerned that the lack of influenza infections in 2020-21 might result in increased influenza cases in 2021-22 due to lack of immunity from infection in the 2020-21 season. But “no one expected flu to go away forever,” Mary Krauland, an infectious-disease modeler at the University of Pittsburgh, told [the article's author, Katherine J.] Wu.
The article cites two recent PHDL models, posted in preprint last month, as finding that decreased population level immunity could potentially result in an increase in flu cases and corresponding hospitalizations in 2021-22. The public health message is that vaccination is the best way to limit influenza activity, and due to the possibility of increased cases in 2021-22, it is more important than ever to vaccinate as much of the population as possible.