Experts have called this year's flu season nearly "non-existent" as Americans adhere to mask wearing, handwashing and social distancing amid the COVID-19 pandemic. COVID Protocols Like Masks, Hand Washing Made This Year’s Flu Season ‘Almost Nonexistent’ – CBS San Francisco
By Maria Medina

SAN JOSE (KPIX) — Experts have called this year’s flu season nearly “nonexistent” as Americans adhere to mask wearing, handwashing and social distancing amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s (the flu) more contagious than COVID and what this has done is shown is that we can really cut this down,” said University of California San Francisco Prof. George Rutherford. “It was almost nonexistent.”

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As flu season comes to an end, Santa Clara County has so far reported 51 influenza cases, zero deaths and ICU cases. This time last year, the county reported 308 cases, 5 deaths and 50 ICU cases.

Nationwide, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported 1,639 positive cases from specimens tested at clinical laboratories.

“They’re usually thousands, like tens of thousands,” Rutherford said.

He also highlighted the one pediatric death from influenza compared to 198 last year.

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“There’s one in the entire country so that’s the sort of stuff that I think is really remarkable,” Rutherford said. “We sort of poo poo hand washing for COVID, but it’s very real for influenza, and I think that’s made a huge dent in everything.”

Javier Cervantes, who said half of his family contracted COVID-19, plans to wear a mask especially in crowded areas even after the United States reaches herd immunity.

“I think the coronavirus might be here to stay,” said Cervantes. “I also know someone who has diabetes, got COVID and now needs a kidney transplant. So yeah, this thing is serious. Mask up.”

But others, like Kate Grant, said evidence or not that masks work, she can’t wait to get rid of hers once she’s allowed according to county public health guidelines.

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“Once the pandemic is over, I hope this thing goes,” Grant said. “I want to be able to go hug nieces and nephews and see my parents more regularly and all that, the same thing that everyone else wants, and not wear any mask.”