Countries across the Southern Hemisphere — like Australia, New Zealand, as well as countries in South America — have reported less cases of influenza during their winter season because of COVID-19 lockdowns, The Guardian reports.

Public health specialists in those countries said there have been record low levels of the flu, which has saved thousands of lives and has offered “a glimmer of hope as winter approaches in the Northern Hemisphere,” according to The Guardian.

  • New Zealand didn’t see one influenza case since screening began in June.
  • Auckland, New Zealand, last saw a flu case in April.
  • New Zealand has one of the lowest COVID-19 rates due to a lockdown on the country.
  • Australia, meanwhile, saw 315 influenza cases in 2020. Last year, that number was closer to 131,000, according to The Guardian.
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A ‘perfect storm’ coming for fall:

Experts in the United States have recently expressed worry about how the coronavirus and flu will interact during the winter season.

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Dr. Jeanne Marrazzo, director of the division of infectious diseases at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, said recently that the combination of the two could create a “perfect storm,” according to the Centers for Infectious Disease Research and Policy.

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  • “The big concern this year, of course, is that we are going to see what could be a perfect storm of accelerated COVID-19 activity as people gather more inside, in particular, as they become continually fatigued with the mask wearing, the social distancing, and the hand hygiene, and as they are exposed to seasonal influenza,” Marrazzo said.
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