SC Sees ‘widespread week’ of Flu Cases
Last year’s worries about a “twindemic” of the flu and COVID-19 were unfounded, and even hit a historically low flu season, but it seems that’s no longer the case. As the new 2021-2022 flu season unfolds, we’re seeing flu cases nearly triple in many states. In South Carolina, the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) announced 775 lab-confirmed cases of the flu this week alone. The department said this is the first week of widespread activity for the current flu season. So far, there have been 2,503 reported cases of the flu in South Carolina and two deaths. That’s compared to 50 cases this time last year and three deaths for the entire 2020-2021 flu season.
The CDC said last year’s mild season compromised people’s immunity to the flu, which is usually achieved by natural infection and through vaccines. Now, because of the mild season, fewer people than usual have less protection. As we take on rising flu rates and new coronavirus variants, Dr. Linda Bell, State Epidemiologist, pleaded not to let our guard down, “as we continue to respond to the worst public health crisis in 100 years, it’s important that we all remain as healthy as possible. One key step we can take is getting our flu shots.”
Dr. Brannon Traxler, Director of Public Health, said the department has been prepared to handle a winter surge of both flu and covid-19 cases, but wants more people to get vaccinated for, not only the flu, but the coronavirus as well. “As we get further into the winter holiday season, it is more important than ever for our unvaccinated population to begin their COVID-19 vaccination series, and for fully vaccinated individuals to get their booster shot.”
Something else our public health officials want you to consider is the Omicron variant. Now that several cases have been detected in the Lowcountry, DHEC expects more cases to come up around the state. So, whether it’s the flu or coronavirus, doctors say it’s more important than ever to get our vaccinations.