Does the start of flu season say anything about the economic impact of coronavirus?

Here’s two interesting charts I found which show that flu season seems to typically start in November and ends in April. This is interesting at this moment because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and what it means for people working from home and eventual lockdowns to stop the rise of the virus.

People with flu like systems are supposed quarantine themselves and work from home. So people will generally need to quarantine until they show no symptoms and have a negative corona test which currently can take a few days. Lockdowns are needed to suppress the virus if the virus spreads faster than anticipated and starts clogging up the healthcare system because hospitals get overloaded with ICU patients.

This has all kinds of implications for the economy as we’ve already seen in March of 2020. Working from home stocks like Zoom will profit while airline stocks suffer because people will fly less. At the same time these charts might offer us a view in to when humans are most vulnerable for coronavirus and when the virus spreads more easily around humans. In both charts you can clearly see that flu seasons generally seems to start around week 46.

Here’s a chart showing the last few flu seasons in the United States.

Share of influenza tests returned positive per week in the United States 2015 - 2020
Share of influenza tests returned positive per week in the United States 2015 – 2020

And here is another chart showing the number of people in the Netherlands visiting the doctor who test positive for flu symptoms per 100.000 patients.

Number of people in the Netherlands visiting the doctor who test positive for flu symptoms per 100.000 patients 2015 - 2020
Number of people in the Netherlands visiting the doctor who test positive for flu symptoms per 100.000 patients 2015 – 2020

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