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While COVID-19 surges, health officials cautiously optimistic seasonal flu cases dropping

Click to play video 'BCCDD predicts mild year for 2020-21 flu season' BCCDD predicts mild year for 2020-21 flu season
The BC Centre For Disease Control says it look like this will be a mild year for the flu. Linda Aylesworth explains why.

With all of the alarm about COVID-19, health officials are cautiously optimistic that this year’s flu season will be a different story.

Dr. Ran Goldman with UBC’s Faculty of Medicine says it might be more important than ever to get a flu shot to avoid a so-called “twindemic” that could come from a surge in cases of both COVID-19 and influenza.

The number of Canadians who tested positive for influenza during the first week of November last year was 711.
During the same week this year, only 17 have tested positive.

Click to play video '2020 flu season might be light, but shots still important' 2020 flu season might be light, but shots still important
2020 flu season might be light, but shots still important – Nov 18, 2020

Read more: ‘Exceptionally low’: Canada’s flu season drops amid coronavirus restrictions

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The measures people are taking to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus — wearing masks, washing their hands and social distancing — appear to be lowering the number of cases of the seasonal flu.

Goldman warns against developing a false sense of security when it comes to influenza, though.

“We have to stay vigilant and do all those measures that we learned about and not be lax on protecting ourselves,” he said but added that those measures do not replace vaccines.

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Influenza and COVID-19: similar symptoms, vastly different consequences – Nov 13, 2020

He said he is heartened by new research that showed that 30 per cent more parents said they would get their children flu shots this year compared to last year.

Read more: ‘Never had such high demand’: British Columbians keen on flu shots amid COVID-19

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“I am very encouraged to see so many more this interested in getting the vaccine against flu,” he said.