Social distancing and mask guidelines put in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic prevented the spread of germs and bacteria. As those measures are lifted now, the Flu is starting to spread once again.The Cases of Flu are getting severe as well because people’s immune systems are not ready to start fighting germs once again after a year of relative safety. Young children and babies are susceptible and serve as vectors for the spread of viruses.
Dr. Paul Skolnik, an immunovirologist and chair of internal medicine at the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine, said that the exposure to various pathogens primes or jazzes up the immune system to be ready to respond to that pathogen. If you’ve not had those exposures, your immune system may be a little slower to respond or doesn’t respond as fully, leading to greater susceptibility to some respiratory infections and sometimes longer or more protracted symptoms.
The major causes of influenza, rhinovirus, and other common viral infections floored last year. Common colds and the Flu, which are caused by respiratory viruses, were almost non-existent in 2020 as they had very little chance to spread from person to person. Cases are surging now because the pandemic-related restrictions are being lifted.
Texas, the first state to fully reopen back in March, saw a surge in respiratory viruses almost immediately after lifting pandemic mandates. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that the Respiratory Syncytial Virus is making a surge this summer across the U.S. south, a rare occurrence for the virus that usually takes its toll in the fall and winter months.