The flu season that never was: COVID-19 pandemic keeps other viruses at bay

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OTTAWA — The 2021 flu season will go down in history as the epidemic that never was.

By this time of the year, Canada has normally logged an average of more than 43,000 confirmed cases of influenza.

But this year, the Public Health Agency of Canada says there was a total of just 66 confirmed cases as of March 20.

The federal agency says the case numbers are so low they haven't even met the threshold to declare the flu season as having begun.

There has been no evidence of flu spreading in the community, no confirmed outbreaks and the number of hospitalizations and deaths due to the flu is zero.

Canada's chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam says the public health measures in place to slow the spread of COVID-19 have helped keep the flu at bay, but also other infectious diseases like measles — not diagnosed once in Canada in more than a year.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 31, 2021.

The Canadian Press