At this point during last year’s flu season, Canada had already recorded 711 positive cases of influenza.
So far this year, there have been just 17.
“Influenza is way behind the eight ball here,” said Dr. Gerald Evans, chair of infectious disease in the department of medicine at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont.
Many health experts feared that a fall wave of COVID-19 would not only be worse than the first wave in the spring, but it would come just as seasonal flu infections started to spread, making it impossible for hospitals to keep up.
COVID-19 is proving to be worse this fall, with more than 1,400 people in hospital, about one-fifth of them in critical care. The flu, however, is not.
In the first week of November, not one province or territory reported a single patient hospitalized with the flu, compared with 60 during the same week a year ago.
In 2019, provinces reported 147 lab-confirmed cases of flu the first week of November. This year, they reported four.
This despite testing more than twice as many people for flu than usual — almost 10,000 tests done in the first week of November, compared to a six-year average of about 4,500.