There are two big reasons why more people could be vulnerable to the flu this year.
The first is that with coronavirus restrictions such as the wearing of masks all but forgotten, people are more likely to come into contact with the flu virus this year than over the last two years.
The second reason is that fewer people are likely to be immune from the flu virus this year because fewer people have been getting the flu over the last two years — as the pandemic locked people down and as people worried more about getting COVID-19.
Richard Webby, a virologist at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital’s infectious diseases department, said the past two flu seasons simply have not seen the same levels of exposure to the flu.
“As a population, our immunity to the flu is down a bit,” Webby said. “When the virus comes back, it’s probably going to have a little bit more room to spread, a little bit more room to potentially cause disease.”
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