While COVID-19 epidemic slows down, the number of flu cases gradually grows. The Centers for Disease Control reported 10 new severe flu cases and one death.
As the COVID-19 epidemic continues to slow down, Taiwan reported over 20,000 new domestic cases on Feb. 7, representing a four-day drop consecutively. Public health specialists noted that Taiwan's population immunity, including that from natural infection, vaccines, and herd immunity, is at around 55 percent. Based on the experiences of Australia and Korea, even with total relaxation of disease prevention restrictions, medium to severe cases will not increase drastically. They recommend practicing meticulous self-prevention to achieve the next level of relaxation of COVID restrictions.
Chen Hisu-hsi, Professor, College of Public Health, National Taiwan University: “If those who are likely to be in touch with vulnerable groups all get bivalent vaccines, then we can expect group immunity to reach 70 percent. Then Covid alert level may be lowered and restrictions relaxed.”
However, the flu epidemic begins to heighten. The CDC announced that there were more than 47,000 patients with influenza-like symptoms checking in at hospitals last week, an increase of 28 percent from the previous week. Among these, severe flu cases increased by 10 cases, with the youngest patient being an 8-year-old boy, who is currently being treated in ICU. Additionally, a 90-some-year-old woman is the 5th death case since the beginning of the flu season.
Lo Yi-chun, Deputy Director-General, Centers for Disease Control: “During her treatment in the hospital, she was diagnosed with Influenza-A; however, she also suffers from other chronic illnesses, stroke and kidney failure, and breathing failure, and thus passed away on Feb. 2.”
In addition, the latest research compiled by Chung Shan Medical University Hospital and Kaohsiung Veterans General Hospital discovered that those who contracted COVID-19 have three times the risk of developing autoimmune diseases as those who were never infected with COVID-19. With respect to this, the CECC responded that a few people may experience stimulation of immune reactions after contracting COVID-19 and resulting in a cytokine storm, but this requires further empirical evidence.