Doctors say COVID measures helped keep flu rates down

sick woman in bed
(Photo: Freepic)
AMMAN — The coronavirus pandemic has devastated the world, reverberating across different sectors. But it has had one unexpected upside: the health measures implemented have also led to a decline in influenza (flu) rates. اضافة اعلان

"People nowadays, because of their concerns regarding the pandemic, have learnt to follow a healthy lifestyle,” said Isaac Tawil, a general practitioner, in an interview with Jordan News. “They wash their hands regularly and sanitize. The majority have a sanitizer in their bags too. These are some good habits that contributed to limiting the number of people getting infected with influenza."

"Such healthy habits, and in addition to wearing a mask constantly, have the ability to protect us from different diseases other than coronavirus,” Tawil added. “Imagine that these habits protect us from COVID-19, and it is a serious disease, do you not think it can protect us from minor illnesses?”

"It is our role here to call on people to always follow a healthy and safe lifestyle even when the pandemic ends. Let us get used to such good habits always because our health must always be a priority for everyone."

Director of the Princess Haya Center for Biotechnology, Dr Saeed Jaradat, told Jordan News that "I am 100 percent sure that there are huge decreases in the number of infections in Influenza, not only in Jordan but also in all countries."

Jaradat added that "this is because of the social distancing, and other health measures people are taking nowadays because of their concerns of the pandemic. I can tell you that the percentage has decreased by almost 90-95 percent, which is a significant parentage no doubt."

Jordan normally faces seasonal flu. In 2017, the Ministry of Health projected that 15 to 35 percent of the total population would have influenza at some point that year. The disease can be deadly, especially for the elderly and vulnerable.

Mohammad Saif Eddin, another doctor, told Jordan News that "unfortunately, some people assume that the illness is a fate from God and therefore they decide not to take care of their health.”

“This is totally wrong because even religions urge people to take good care of their health,” he said. “I can say here that our bodies are our biggest gift from God and it is our responsibility to care about them."

“As a doctor, I always tell my patients to take good care of their bodies,” Saif Eddin added. “Whether they are kids or adults, they must eat healthy, do sports, and sanitize. These habits should be there always — before and after the pandemic."

"Beside long-term disease, I can tell that most of the people nowadays are protected from minor illnesses," Saif Eddin said. "I am talking here about people who follow a healthy and safe lifestyle, and are committed to wearing their masks and sanitizing constantly — they are not protecting themselves from coronavirus only but also from viral infections like influenza too."

He admitted that "some people, and they are a few, might have a chance of getting infected with the flu; those are the people who still do not have a big concern for sanitizing and wearing their masks and still follow bad habits."

The doctor also described the influenza vaccine or “flu shot” as a “good step”, but pointed out that “it will never protect them from COVID-19. It is my role in this regard to advise people, in addition to the healthy lifestyle they should follow, to also take the vaccines which are specifically made for COVID-19."

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