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Doctors: Low flu numbers are direct results of COVID-19 precautions

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Posted at 3:26 PM, Jan 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-20 17:14:22-05

TAMPA, Fla. — Coronavirus cases continue to rise across Florida, but flu cases are at an all-time low, according to medical experts.

“Since I’ve been a physician, which is 13 years, it’s the lowest I’ve seen in my career so far,” said Dr. Paul Nanda.

He’s one of the chief medical officers for Tampa General Hospital’s Urgent Care powered by Fast Track. He said the urgent care is normally busy with flu patients around his time of the year, but that’s not the case this year.

“Because the mitigation steps we’re using for COVID are positively affecting flu numbers this season,” he said. “That’s masks, washing your hands and social distancing.”

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ABC Action News talked to several doctors and health officials and they all agree. Some say it might be a good idea to keep taking those mitigation steps going forward.

“In addition to getting the flu shot...,” Pinellas Co. health department spokesperson Tom Iovino said. “If the evidence points to the fact that we can reduce the severity of flu season, we’re all in favor of it.”

Nanda said he plans to keep the mask mandate at the urgent care.

Local doctors want to remind people to get their flu shot as well as the COVID-19 vaccine.

“You will probably still have the ability to spread the virus to others,” Nanda said. “Just because you received the COVID vaccine doesn’t mean you should stop wearing your masks.”