Flu numbers down as COVID-19 cases go up

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WDKY) – As the number of coronavirus cases goes up, the number of flu cases is going down.

Social distancing is a practice we’ve become accustomed to over the last few weeks as a way to combat the COVID 19 coronavirus. But is it working?

Lexington emergency physician Dr. Ryan Stanton seems to think so.

Dr. Stanton says the data shows that Kentucky is flattening the curve especially compared to states like New York.

“In Kentucky, where we are just seeing a very slow increase trend. So, our peak is not going to be for another five weeks or so, but it shows that we are making a huge difference in our potential cases out there,” Dr. Stanton said.

Some tangible evidence of that success could come from looking at another virus, the flu.

For the third week in a row, flu numbers went down in the commonwealth, the same period of time that social distancing has been at the forefront of people’s minds.

“I think we’re probably seeing some impact as far as social distancing, but also this is the time of year where we see it tail off anyway, but the thing to throw in there as well is that we’re testing a ton more right now than we typically do,” Dr. Stanton. “Hand hygiene and the social distancing. All of that will impact other viruses on top of just the coronavirus.”

Dr. Stanton says coronavirus transmits similarly to the flu, but its contagiousness is much higher.

“You think with the flu: one person, then one person, then one person, at the end of the month maybe four people have the flu total, but if you use three then that number is 40 by the end of the month when it comes to COVID so the potential for exponential growth is pretty ridiculous,” Dr. Stanton said.

Nothing is black and white when it comes to COVID-19, but continuing to practice social distancing and good hygiene could give us a much better shade of grey.

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