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Health experts say flu activity lower than usual in Kentucky this season

They say more hand washing and wearing a mask has helped slow the spread compared to years past.
They say more hand washing and wearing a mask has helped slow the spread compared to years past.(WKYT)
Published: Dec. 2, 2020 at 9:22 PM CST
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - The pandemic has negatively impacted many people, but there may be a silver lining. Health experts say flu activity is lower than usual.

Interactive | Breakdown of Kentucky’s COVID-19 cases

They say flu numbers are down this year compared to years past.

“It’s been very quiet as far as children sick, adults sick, the elderly sick,” said pharmacist Clarence Sullivan, The Pharmacy Shop.

Last December, 1,622 Kentuckians had been diagnosed with the flu. Four people had died. This year’s recent data shows only 145 Kentuckians have caught the virus. So far, no one has died.

Looking at Fayette County, last December there were 19 confirmed flu cases, but this year there are no cases.

RELATED: Kentucky prepares for rollout of COVID-19 vaccines

“The pandemic obviously could be one influence, but the fact that we’re also taking so many precautions,” Sullivan said.

Precautions like hand washing and wearing a mask, which Sullivan says help slow the spread.

“A lot of people are getting the flu shot, particularly the elderly have been in for their high dose flu shots,” Sullivan said.

According to the CDC, flu vaccines have been 20 to 60 percent effective in the past 10 years. A sharp contrast to the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines, which those companies report are showing around 95% effectiveness.

But experts say there are still a lot of unknowns.

“What we don’t know is after you get the vaccine if you can still potentially spread this to someone else,” said Governor Andy Beshear.

Experts are not sure if COVID-19 is here to stay for years to come, but they are finding hope in the vaccines.

“We’re in target to be able to distribute the vaccine, administer the vaccine,” Sullivan said. “So, we’re looking forward to people line up.”

Kentucky expects its first shipment of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccines in the next few weeks. Officials say those vaccines will go to long term care facilities and frontline workers.

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