The Influence of COVID-19 on Influenza and Respiratory Syncytial Virus Activities

Pritish Mondal, Ankita Sinharoy, Suparna Gope

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Respiratory viral diseases have considerably declined since the COVID-19 outbreak, perhaps through influence by nonpharmaceutical interventions. We conducted a cross-sectional study using the CDC database to compare the pre-vs. post-pandemic flu activity (incidence) between the US states. Our secondary objectives were to estimate the association between flu activity and flu vaccination rates and compare the national trends of flu and RSV activities since the pandemic outbreak. Methods: We estimated the difference between pre-pandemic (April 2019–March 2020) and post-pandemic (April 2020–March 2021) flu activity between individual states using the Wilcoxon signed-rank test. The association between flu activity and immunization rates was also measured. Finally, parallel time trend graphs for flu and RSV activities were illustrated with a time series modeler. Results: The median (IQR) pre-pandemic flu activity was 4.10 (1.38), higher than the post-pandemic activity (1.38 (0.71)) (p-value < 0.001). There was no difference between pre-pandemic (45.50% (39.10%)) and post-pandemic (45.0% (19.84%)) flu vaccine acceptance (p-value > 0.05). Flu activity and vaccination rates were not associated (p-value > 0.05). Flu activity has declined since the COVID-19 outbreak, while RSV made a strong comeback in June 2021. Conclusion: Flu activity has significantly diminished throughout the pandemic while a sudden upsurge in RSV is a public health concern indicative of possible resurgence of other viruses. Flu vaccine acceptance neither changed during the pandemic nor influenced the diminished Flu activity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)134-141
Number of pages8
JournalInfectious Disease Reports
Volume14
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Infectious Diseases

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