This year’s influenza season was predicted to be the most severe in decades – but thanks to the coronavirus lockdowns and social distancing measures, it has instead ended six weeks earlier than expected.
“Public-health measures such as movement restrictions, social distancing and increased personal hygiene likely had an effect on decreasing influenza and other respiratory virus transmission,” says the World Health Organization in a statement to Nature.
Aside from a shortened flu season, several other infectious diseases seem to have been affected. April saw the lowest cases of measles and rubella since at least 2016, with only 36 cases of rubella reported worldwide. Pak-leung Ho, infectious-disease researcher at the University of Hong Kong, says school closures “may have had the biggest impact”.