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Flu cases way down in Maine during the pandemic

Experts credit precautions against COVID-19 to a big drop in Maine flu cases.

AUGUSTA, Maine — Seasonal flu appears to have taken a backseat during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last year at this time, the Maine CDC was reporting a little over 1,360 cases. This year so far, that number stands at 80. A year ago this week, there were six influenza-related deaths. So far this season, no deaths have been reported.

State health experts say mask-wearing, physical distancing, and washing hands are not only critical to reducing the spread of COVID-19, but those precautions offer protection against the flu as well. 

Another factor is that the coronavirus is more contagious than the flu, and more people received their flu shot before the season got underway.

"We do have a vaccine for flu that could also be why we are not seeing much flu but we are seeing COVID-19 spreading as well," Anna Krueger, an Epidemiologist, and the influenza surveillance coordinator, for the Maine CDC said.

Doctors say there is still time to get your flu shot- and there is a possibility that cases could ramp up in the next few weeks.

For more information on seasonal flu from the Maine CDC go here.

How to prevent seasonal flu from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, go here.