University of Lynchburg DMSc Doctoral Project Assignment Repository

University of Lynchburg DMSc Doctoral Project Assignment Repository


Infectious disease


Laura Witte, PhD, PA-C



Background: The purpose of this narrative review article is to examine the burden of influenza in the United States at the time of initiated precautions to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease of 2019 (COVID-19 virus).

Method: A PubMed literature search was conducted with search terms COVID-19, non-pharmacologic interventions (NPI), and influenza. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was also reviewed to track seasonal influenza statistics. The reporting periods reviewed included: 2017-2018, 2018-2019, 2019-2020, and 2020-2021. Data from the National Center for Health Statistics Mortality Surveillance System was also reviewed for the most updated case numbers.

Results: The NPI’s (mask wearing, social distancing, hand hygiene, staying home when ill) that were instituted to slow the spread of COVID-19 correlated with a decrease in several key data points of estimated burden of seasonal influenza in the United States for the 2020-2021 monitoring period.

Limitations: Collected public health data may have lagging information, due to reporting delays. In addition, it was unclear if any specific NPI was more effective at reducing influenza burden.

Conclusion: Global measures taken to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus have primarily been NPI’s. Routine mask-wearing, social distancing and hand hygiene may be a cost-effective way to decrease the annual burden of seasonal influenza. The effect of NPI’s on pediatric mortality from influenza was significant. Further research is needed to establish a direct causal relationship between specific NPI’s and burden of influenza.

Keywords: COVID-19, Influenza, Non-pharmacologic interventions


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