NEW YORK (AP) -- February is usually the peak of flu season, but not this year.

Health officials say flu cases and hospitalizations have been at their lowest levels in decades.

The Minnesota Department of Health says our state has had just 32 hospitalizations due to influenza.  That compares to over 4,000 hospitalizations during the 2019-2020 influenza season.

MDH also says there have been five deaths in Minnesota from influenza so far this season with the median age being 86 years old.  That compares to 153 deaths during the 2019-2020 influenza season, with the median age of 73 years old.

Experts say that measures put in place to fend off COVID-19 are a big factor. Some think it's also possible that the coronavirus has essentially muscled aside not only flu but also some other bugs usually seen in the fall and winter.

The number of flu infections is so low that it's difficult for CDC to do its annual calculation of how well the vaccine is working. And it could make planning for next season's flu vaccine tougher too.

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