What Covid Revealed About The Flu To Researchers And The General Public?

Nikki Attkisson | Last Updated : November 23, 2022

The world experienced a global pandemic that was caused by the SAR-CoV-2 coronavirus from the beginning of 2020 and continuing into 2022. These years of covid -19 pandemic were unforgettable memories for those who were urged to stay indoors for many months due to the outbreak of the novel viral disease.

The severe respiratory diseases caused by the virus made people suffer from various illnesses. To stop the spread of covid, on March 3, 2020, the head of the world health organization (WHO)  began a daily briefing exhorting countries around the world.

Just over a week later when the United Nations health agency declared covid as a pandemic, the novel coronavirus spread to virtually every country on earth. The past years helped scientists and people to gain a new understanding of the flu which made a shift of eyes from the covid and thinking about the seasonal flu. 

Covid -19 and flu both are respiratory diseases which affect the lungs. The common symptoms of covid-19 are fever, dry cough, joint and muscle pain, tiredness, and shortness of breath. Most of these symptoms are also seen when affected by the flu. So far evidence suggests that covid-19 symptoms affect gradually while flu symptoms typically come quickly.

How Flu Transmission Can Be Stopped?

When the World health organization (WHO) launched its globally influenced tracking website FluNet, the cases were virtually decreased or absent that winter. Linsey Marr, professor of civil and environmental engineering at Virginia Tech said that it was shocking that the flu went to zero that year. 

What Covid Revealed About The Flu To Researchers And The General Public

The pandemic-related mitigation measures such as using masks, avoiding traveling, indoor gatherings, improved diet, frequent hand washing, and following hygiene habits played a major role to control the spreading and transmission of disease.

When we get exposed to a respiratory virus such as flu or covid, it reduces the initial immune response that is nonspecific, explained Dr.Matthew Memoli, director of the Laboratory of Infectious Diseases’ clinical studies unit at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease.  

Flu can spread via aerosols

The spread of covid from person to person was one of the most debated topics among researchers and scientists in the early period of the emergence of the pandemic.

Through the respiratory droplets expelled when the infected people cough, sneeze or talk, scientists understood that the disease can be transmitted from person to person through even small particles called aerosols that can drift through the air.

So transmission through the air is the most common and dangerous way through which diseases are transmitted. To avoid this throughout the pandemic, research was made to find effective ways to limit aerosol transmissions like humidity control in the air, UV air filters, and many more. 

Use of non-pharmaceutical interventions

Prior to the pandemic, we were focused on promoting vaccination as a primary way to stop the spread of flu but now we realize that vaccinations are really important but additional measures can really bring the burden of influenza.

There are studies carried out to measure how well these interventions work, but they were inconclusive. The mitigation strategies like masking, social distancing, and staying at home when the person is infected can dramatically impact the transmission of the influenza virus. Fairly consistent influenza vaccinations support nonpharmaceutical interventions.

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Risk of ‘long Flu’

According to Akiko Iwasaki, a professor of immunobiology at Yale university said that “covid is not alone in having Long-term consequences, even after a mind infection”. Seasonal flu is less likely to cause long-lasting symptoms than the pandemic flu.

There are a lot of stories about people developing psychosis or neurological diseases over a long period in the 2009 pandemic flu and even the 1918 flu.

After the detailed study researchers found that covid infections led to longer-term damage than flu viruses. These types of studies, encouraged by the covid virus pandemic, have already helped to explain how the flu behaves in the human body and causes infection.

Nikki Attkisson

With over 15 years as a practicing journalist, Nikki Attkisson found herself at Powdersville Post now after working at several other publications. She is an award-winning journalist with an entrepreneurial spirit and worked as a journalist covering technology, innovation, environmental issues, politics, health etc. Nikki Attkisson has also worked on product development, content strategy, and editorial management for numerous media companies. She began her career at local news stations and worked as a reporter in national newspapers.

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