Even Russians Get The Flu
Readers will recall that last month corporate media began cranking up the fear porn over this year’s flu season.
With the corporate media ramping up the fear porn over this year’s flu season, which has started early and could prove to be more severe than in previous years, there is valuable perspective to look at what is happening elsewhere in the world.
It so happens that the flu has been getting an early start just about everywhere, as a sampling of Russian media illustrates.
The incidence of influenza in the country has increased several times compared to last year's figures - 143.6 cases per ten thousand people, informs the Smorodintsev Research Institute.
As the translated headline demonstrates, fear porn is a booming industry in Russia just as it is here. When an article about the flu’s early arrival leads with a headline recalling the 1918 Spanish Influenza pandemic, that is almost certainly going to be fear porn.
Even within the fear porn, however, there is meaningful information to be gleaned, and in this case the information shows the flu season in Russia presenting very much as the flu season here in the US. While H1N1—related to the influenza strain responsible for the 1918 pandemic—is noteworthy among this year’s flu strains, H3N2 and other “normal” seasonal flu varieties are also present.
Among the strains, the so-called porcine (H1N1) predominates. Genealogically, it goes back to the famous "Spanish flu", which, according to some estimates, claimed the lives of one hundred million people in 1918-1920. This option came back several times. The 2009 pandemic was particularly severe. Then 18,449 people died - according to WHO .
But regular seasonal H3N2 flu and other respiratory viral infections are also around. They returned after a two-year hiatus due to COVID-19.
“Because of the coronavirus, anti-epidemic measures were in place - masks, disengagement, hand washing. This, of course, was effective against other infections, including influenza,” explains Vladislav Zhemchugov, doctor of medical sciences, immunologist, to RIA Novosti.
Not only is the flu getting the same early start in Russia as here, but the incidence of seasonal flu during the 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 seasons was notably reduced as the COVID pandemic was at its peak.
Also similar to the flu season here in the US, incidence and mortality among children appears to be more significant than in the past, as the report regarding the death of an 8th-grade girl seems to indicate.
Recall that now in the Yaroslavl region there is an increase in the incidence of SARS and influenza. There are already quarantined classes in schools and groups in kindergartens. The health department has officially confirmed the first death from swine flu this season.
A week earlier, that same Russian media outlet reported a number of school and kindergarten classes were either closed or quarantined because of influenza-like illnesses.
The number of students in classes (groups) closed for quarantine for influenza and SARS in kindergartens is 826 people, in schools - 1439, - the table with data on morbidity says.
At the same time, 43 groups in kindergartens and 56 classes were closed for quarantine for influenza and SARS in the region. The department clarified that partial quarantine had to be resorted to in 27 kindergartens and 22 schools.
The flu season in Russia is looking very much like the flu season here, at least according to the media reporting from both countries.
The media in Yaroslavl Oblast also make a familiar-sounding pitch for flu vaccnination.
During the period of seasonal diseases, a new vaccination campaign begins. Doctors recommend getting vaccinated to protect yourself. In particular, vaccination against influenza is included in the National Immunization Schedule according to epidemic indications.
- No vaccine gives a 100% guarantee that you will not get sick. However, by being vaccinated, we give our body the opportunity to prepare for a meeting with an infection, to form immunity. In this case, the subsequent meeting with the flu is easier: under the guise of a common ARVI or asymptomatic at all,” said Alexei Bolkhov.
Those vaccinated almost never develop complications.
Yes, in all parts of the world, the narrative is still that the best thing to be done about seasonal ILI disease is to get a “leaky vaccine” so that you supposedly won’t be as sick or “develop complications.”
To be sure, Russia has reason to be concerned about H1N1, as it had quite a big presence in 2016, which Russian media describes as “epidemic”.
In the fall of 2022, doctors discovered swine flu in every second region of Russia. This virus caused an epidemic across the country in 2016. And he's back now.
However, it is still the flu and the best treatment is still bed rest, fluids, and good nutrition.
Neya Georgieva advises to be sure to observe bed rest, work and rest, drink plenty of fluids, eat right, rich in proteins, fats and carbohydrates. Drug therapy begins immediately, from the moment the first symptoms appear and includes antiviral, antipyretic therapy. Symptomatic treatment - mucolytic or antitussive drugs, vasoconstrictor drops and saline solutions in the nose.
“It is advisable to take antiviral drugs within 48 hours from the onset of symptoms. Bed rest, drinking plenty of fluids for the flu are required. You can drink water, juices, fruit drinks, teas, it is better to choose easily digestible dishes from food,” adds Olga Kozlova.
Although the Russian media overlooked getting plenty of vitamin D as well.
While the flu season in Russia is off to an early start and potentially also a severe start, Russian health officials are not yet calling for nationwide quarantines and other public health responses. So says Anna Popova, head of Rospotrebnadzor (Russian Federal Service for Surveillance on Consumer Rights Protection and Human Wellbeing).
"Not at the federal level, they have never been introduced, and there is no need to introduce them. The constituent entities of the Russian Federation have enough powers," Popova told reporters, answering a relevant question.
Rospotrebnadzor appear to be analogous to the US Centers for Disease Control and plays the role of public health watchdog.
Rospotrebnadzor, in its seaonal flu public advisories, notes an interesting risk group for flu: people recently recovered from COVID-19.
A new risk group this year is people who have been ill with COVID-19 over the entire past period. It is clear that the new coronavirus infection causes very serious harm to the human body. This harm remains with a person even after the sick leave is closed, because different organs and systems are affected. Postponed COVID-19 in all cases is a serious burden on the immune system, and the echoes of such a burden, "immune depression", persist for a very long time.
Without speaking to the accuracy of this statement, it is nevertheless intriguing that Russia assigns culpability to COVID-19 for increased vulnerability to influenza, and presumably to other diseases as well. This could indicate that Russia is experiencing the same increase in the indicence of a number of infectious diseases that has been noted elsewhere.
If this is indeed the case—and I am speculating to suggest that it is—it arguably cuts against the possibility that immune system damage from the mRNA COVID inoculations is at issue, as Russia developed its own adenovirus vector COVID inoculation, Sputnik V. If the increase in infectious disease is truly a global phenomenon, and is presenting in Russia in much the same fashion as it is in the Western world, the different inoculation products in play makes the role of one inoculation product in the disease incidence uptick less probable.
Ultimately, Russian media confirms that, while this year’s flu season might be more severe than in recent years, it is far from an abnormal event. Even in the severity, this year’s flu season is arguably still “normal.” The most unusual aspect of this year’s flu season is that it jumped off to an early and aggressive start. Aside from the inclusion of SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 in the pantheon of endemic infectious respiratory pathogens and the related group of Influenza-Like Illnesses, this year’s flu season appears to be fairly routine and warrants no unusual alarm.
As I have argued before, people should be aware of the incidence of ILI in their area, but should not panic nor be misled by media efforts to revive the Pandemic Panic Narrative.
The overarching takeaway from a quick sampling of Russian media coverage of Russia’s flu season is a message we have heard before, and which always bears repeating: everywhere in the world, viruses are going to virus.
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