Changes in Influenza and Other Respiratory Virus Activity During the COVID-19 Pandemic - United States, 2020-2021.MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2021 Jul 23; 70(29):1013-1019.MM
The COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent implementation of nonpharmaceutical interventions (e.g., cessation of global travel, mask use, physical distancing, and staying home) reduced transmission of some viral respiratory pathogens (1). In the United States, influenza activity decreased in March 2020, was historically low through the summer of 2020 (2), and remained low during October 2020-May 2021 (<0.4% of respiratory specimens with positive test results for each week of the season). Circulation of other respiratory pathogens, including respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), common human coronaviruses (HCoVs) types OC43, NL63, 229E, and HKU1, and parainfluenza viruses (PIVs) types 1-4 also decreased in early 2020 and did not increase until spring 2021. Human metapneumovirus (HMPV) circulation decreased in March 2020 and remained low through May 2021. Respiratory adenovirus (RAdV) circulated at lower levels throughout 2020 and as of early May 2021. Rhinovirus and enterovirus (RV/EV) circulation decreased in March 2020, remained low until May 2020, and then increased to near prepandemic seasonal levels. Circulation of respiratory viruses could resume at prepandemic levels after COVID-19 mitigation practices become less stringent. Clinicians should be aware of increases in some respiratory virus activity and remain vigilant for off-season increases. In addition to the use of everyday preventive actions, fall influenza vaccination campaigns are an important component of prevention as COVID-19 mitigation measures are relaxed and schools and workplaces resume in-person activities.