During a typical flu season, influenza activity would be winding down about this time of year, but it looks as if the flu season never began.

But will the flu return with a vengeance or has Covid changed the virus forever? “This year we have had one admission to the hospital with serious influenza,” NorthShore University HealthSystem’s Dr John Erwin said.

During the flu season that never was, Covid mitigations stopped the seasonal virus from spreading. “Normally during flu season the hospital is completely packed with the flu,” Erwin said. “We can have thousands of cases in the hospital at any given time depending on the year.”

“In a typical year by this point in time, we’d probably seen maybe 10 kids in the hospital for severe complications and maybe 10 times that being tested for flu and being flu positive,” Lurie Children’s Dr. Tina Tan said.

In a normal season, up to 150 children die from the flu in the U.S. In adults, that number ranges from 12,000 to 61,000 deaths, with up to 45 million cases overall. “I don’t see the flu becoming eliminated, but through the course of history we’ve seen viral resp illnesses adapt to change and thwart us, so we have to be mindful of that,” Erwin said.

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