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Social distancing and the latest flu numbers

Posted at 6:31 PM, Apr 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-06 20:57:18-04

EL PASO COUNTY — The Stay at Home order in Colorado has been in place for weeks now. Is it making an impact toward slowing the COVID-19 virus? Looking at flu numbers may contribute to the answer.

COVID-19 is a respiratory illness. It spreads similar to other more known viruses, like whooping cough or the flu. Logic would indicate measures to slow COVID-19, would also impact other illnesses with shared attributes. "We would anticipate and expect to see some decrease in other respiratory infections," said El Paso County Public Health Medical Director, Dr. Robin Johnson.

The latest mapping of flu does show some slowing in the last week. Data tracked by Colorado’s Department of Public Health and shared with the Centers for Disease Control shows a change from the designation of “widespread” to the improved “regional” prominence of flu.

It is important to keep a realistic perspective. Numbers from just a few days can offer optimism, but it is going to take several more weeks of data to know the “true story”. Dr. Johnson said, "Staying the course is going to be key here, if we're going to keep those numbers down. So, while we're seeing some encouraging trends, it's not time for us to become complacent."

The Stay at Home order is not going to suddenly go away with this bit of data. It may offer some affirmation, for those feeling cooped up and wondering if this unprecedented effort is making any difference.