Flu, RSV cases down on the Omaha subway

OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) – For months, health experts have been warning of a surge in both COVID-19 cases and the flu.

We are now in the middle of the typical flu season.

So what exactly do local health leaders see?

The answer may surprise you.

“We just haven’t seen any influenza, no RSV that I know. We’re not seeing these viruses right now, ”says Dr. Trevor Van Schooneveld, Associate Professor of Infectious Diseases at UNMC.

Around this time last year, CHI Health clinics saw nearly 1,300 cases of influenza per week.

A year later, the difference is amazing.

So far, clinics have an average of 19 flu cases per week this month.

Experts say that respiratory illnesses like flu and RSV are virtually non-existent in our community right now.

Dr. Trevor Van Schooneveld, Associate Professor of Infectious Diseases at UNMC

“We have these tests that look for all of these viruses at the same time. We just don’t see the flu and no RSV. If you don’t look for it, you certainly won’t find it. But almost all of our COVID tests also look for influenza, ”says Dr. Van Schooneveld.

UNMC and CHI Health executives say there are several factors influencing these low numbers.

They say an increase in people getting the flu vaccine could play a role.

However, they believe that whatever measures the community is taking to prevent the spread of COVID-19 will also prevent the other viruses from spreading as well.

“We understand why because we’re doing all the things we’ve told people for years. But none of us ever did. We will not work when we are sick and coughing at our friends, neighbors and co-workers. We wear masks to limit the spread of germs on the handle of the shopping cart, ”says Dr. Michael Schooff, medical director of CHI Health Primary Care

There is still some good news, doctors say they believe the lessons they learned during the pandemic will last for years.

“I think we may find out, many years later, that in January next year we will do some of this, distance ourselves more, wash our hands more and wear a mask when we come into a crowded room just so we don’t get colds.” says Dr. Schooff.

Doctors say COVID-19 spreads more easily than the flu, or RSV.

While they are still very preoccupied with COVID-19, they say it helps not to be hospitalized for the flu.

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