Renaming the flu? UK health authorities find not a single case of influenza so far in 2021
Health authorities in the United Kingdom found no influenza cases
two months into 2021. Laboratory analysis confirmed only one case in the last week of December, leading to allegations that possible flu cases may have been lumped into COVID-19 case counts. But health officials in the U.K. denied this was a cause for concern, as it only proved that measures to curb COVID-19 also drove down influenza transmission.
reported on Feb. 25 that influenza infection rates are at historic lows
, with public health officials finding not a single flu case in the U.K. for the past seven weeks. Out of the more than 685,000 swab samples analyzed by Public Health England
(PHE) scientists since the first week of January 2021, none have tested positive for influenza as of writing. The U.K.'s public health body processes and examines thousands of swab samples every week to find out how prevalent certain respiratory diseases are in the population.
PHE has credited this low number of flu cases to public health protocols for the Wuhan coronavirus and increased flu immunizations. PHE Head of Flu Dr. Vanessa Saliba also cited a reduction in international travel and "changes in behavior" – such as wearing masks and washing hands frequently – for the lower flu cases.
Saliba further commented on the role flu vaccines played in reducing infections: "This season's immunization program is on track to be the most successful ever, with the highest levels of vaccine uptake recorded for those 65 years and over, two- and three-year-olds and health care workers."
Operational research professor Christina Page of University College London
suggested keeping measures
to curb the spread of the coronavirus in place. She continued that doing so could "reduce flu deaths to pretty much zero." Page also remarked that it is "worth encouraging people to wear masks" on public transportation and in other busy environments every winter, when the flu virus is prevalent.
According to a BBC
report, figures published in April 2020 by the U.K.'s Office for National Statistics
showed thrice as much fatalities
from flu and pneumonia than COVID-19. "The number of deaths from flu and pneumonia – at more than 32,000 – is three times higher than the total number of coronavirus deaths," the article said.
There are no influenza cases as they have been lumped into COVID-19 case counts
Both the U.K. and the U.S. have seen influenza cases becoming little to almost none during the onset of the pandemic.
Last month, epidemiologist Knut Wittkowski claimed that "influenza has been renamed COVID-19 for the most part." The former head of Rockefeller University
's Department of Biostatistics, Epidemiology and Research Design argued that many flu infections are being incorrectly labeled as those caused by the Wuhan coronavirus.
Wittkowski told Just The News
: "There may be quite a number of influenza cases included in the 'presumed COVID-19' category of people who have … symptoms, but are not tested for SARS RNA." He noted that influenza symptoms can be mistaken for that of COVID-19. The epidemiologist further explained that those same patients "also may have some SARS RNA sitting in their nose while being infected with influenza," with subsequent tests confirming it to be a COVID-19 infection. (Related: CDC admits false positives are being "mistakenly" included in official coronavirus data
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
(CDC), the cumulative positive influenza test rate from late September 2020 into the second week of December 2020 only amounted to 0.2 percent. Figures from the same period in 2019 showed a higher 8.7 percent. Weekly counts likewise reflected dismally low numbers. The first week of January 2021 reported a 0.1 percent influenza test rate compared to the 22 percent rate reported during the first week of January 2020.
This misreporting of both COVID-19 and influenza statistics has landed the public health body in hot water
. Based on a new study
published in Science, Public Health Policy and The Law
, the CDC appeared to have violated multiple federal laws by artificially inflating COVID-19 death counts. The paper asserted that the CDC's methods for collating and classifying data "significantly [impact] the published fatalities count due to COVID-19."
Watchdog group All Concerned Citizens said in a statement to the National File
that the CDC "illegally enacted new rules for data collection and reporting" for COVID-19 cases." The agency's move resulted in a 1,600 percent increase in the number of recorded COVID-19 deaths. The watchdog continued: "The research [paper] asserts that CDC willfully compromised the accuracy and integrity of all COVID-19 case and fatality data from the onset of this crisis in order to fraudulently inflate case and fatality [numbers.]"
Despite being required to maintain full compliance with federal laws even during an emergency, the CDC failed to facilitate mandatory federal oversight and public scientific comment. Because of this shortcoming, All Concerned Citizens said a formal petition has been sent to the U.S. Department of Justice on the matter. The group added that all U.S. attorneys have also sought an immediate grand jury investigation. (Related: CDC chief admits hospitals have "perverse incentive" to inflate coronavirus deaths
to read more about how influenza deaths are misreported as being caused by COVID-19