These actions also have greatly reduced incidence of many other diseases, including influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).
“While this reduction in cases could be interpreted as a positive side effect of COVID-19 prevention, the reality is much more complex,” Baker said.
“Our results suggest that susceptibility to these other diseases, such as RSV and flu, could increase while NPIs are in place, resulting in large outbreaks when they begin circulating again.”.
They found that even relatively short periods of NPI measures could lead to large future RSV outbreaks.
These outbreaks were often delayed following the end of the NPI period, with peak cases projected to occur in many locations in winter 2021-22.
The authors also considered the implications of COVID-19 NPIs for seasonal influenza outbreaks and found results qualitatively similar to RSV.
“The future repercussions of NPIs revealed by this paper hinge on how these measures change the landscape of immunity and susceptibility,” Metcalf said. »