October 12, 2021, 6:30 PM HST
Dr. Sarah Kemble, Hawaiʻi Department of Health state epidemiologist, released a statement today on mortality rates involving COVID-19 and influenza, saying COVID-19 was far deadlier than the flu during the 2020-2021 flu season, both in Hawaiʻi and around the world.
“There was one confirmed influenza death in Hawaiʻi between Sept. 27, 2020 and Oct. 2, 2021. This is compared to 608 COVID-19 deaths in the same reporting period,” said Dr. Kemble.
“While influenza deaths have been rare in the past season, the upcoming season is a big unknown. If mitigation measures are loosened as COVID cases come down, it is likely we will see some resurgence of flu and other respiratory diseases,” Dr. Kemble said.
The state Department of Health “strongly recommends” that all eligible individuals get vaccinated against both flu and COVID-19.
“It is safe to receive both vaccinations at the same time,” said Dr. Kemble. “Getting the flu shot will help to ensure that Hawai‘i’s flu rates remain low to protect our hospital capacity and keep our communities healthy.”
Pneumonia and influenza related mortality data referenced in DOH’s Influenza/Respiratory Disease Surveillance Report is an aggregate of pneumonia caused by all infectious agents, including flu and COVID-19.