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Deaths from seasonal flu drop to just 36 compared to 430 last year thanks to social distancing 

Deaths from seasonal flu drop to just 36 compared to 430 last year thanks to social distancing restrictions

  • Deaths from influenza cases from January to June 2020 have dropped to just 36 
  • Over the same period of time in 2019, 430 people died from the influenza virus  
  • Health experts said the drop in flu deaths is because of coronavirus restrictions 

The number of people dying from flu has drastically declined compared to last year thanks to coronavirus restrictions keeping people socially distant. 

The latest national statistics revealed deaths from the flu from January to June 2020 have dropped to just 36. 

Over the same period in 2019, 430 people died from the flu. 

Health experts believe the decrease in flu deaths is due to an increase in hand hygiene, border and school closures, and social distancing.  

The latest national statistics revealed deaths from the flu from January to June 2020 have dropped to just 36. Over the same period in 2019, 430 people died from the flu (stock image)

Health experts say coronavirus restrictions have helped stop the spread of the seasonal flu (pictured, a couple wear face masks as they shop in Melbourne on Thursday)

Health experts say coronavirus restrictions have helped stop the spread of the seasonal flu (pictured, a couple wear face masks as they shop in Melbourne on Thursday)

Deputy director of the World Health Organisation Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research on Influenza, Ian Barr, said it is usually difficult to curb flu infections.  

‘You have to do exceptional things like having very, very high vaccination rates or doing something dramatic like [what is] currently happening with a severe lockdown type of approach,’ Professor Barr told the ABC. 

He said all the restrictions and rules enforced to curb the spread of coronavirus has helped keep infections low even though it is flu season in Australia. 

‘The main reasons are due to social distancing, as influenza is spread just like COVID-19 is,’ he said.

‘And the closure of schools probably also has a big part in the transmission of the flu in a normal season.’

But Mr Barr warned because so few people have contracted the flu this year, it could make things worse in 2021 because the levels of immunity would have decreased.  

Only 21,000 people have been diagnosed with the flu January to June this year while over 132,000 caught the virus last year during the same period (stock image)

Only 21,000 people have been diagnosed with the flu January to June this year while over 132,000 caught the virus last year during the same period (stock image)

The federal health department also revealed flu vaccinations rates have increased as 8.8 million influenza vaccines were dispensed from March to mid-July

The federal health department also revealed flu vaccinations rates have increased as 8.8 million influenza vaccines were dispensed from March to mid-July

Other countries in flue season such as New Zealand, Chile, South Africa and Argentina have also recorded a reduction in flu cases. 

Only 21,000 people have been diagnosed with the flu January to June this year while over 132,000 caught the virus last year during the same period. 

The federal health department also revealed flu vaccinations rates have increased as 8.8 million influenza vaccines were dispensed from March to mid-July. 

That is an increase of two million doses from the same period last year.  

Health experts believe the decrease in flu deaths is due to lower cases because of an increase in hand hygiene and social distancing (pictured, shoppers at Woolworths social distancing)

Health experts believe the decrease in flu deaths is due to lower cases because of an increase in hand hygiene and social distancing (pictured, shoppers at Woolworths social distancing)

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