National Influenza Annual Report, Canada, 2020-2021, in the global context

During the 2020-2021 Canadian influenza season, no community circulation of influenza occurred. Only 69 positive detections of influenza were reported, and influenza percent positivity did not exceed 0.1%. Influenza indicators were at historical lows compared with the previous six seasons, with no laboratory-confirmed influenza outbreaks or severe outcomes being reported by any of the provinces and territories. Globally, influenza circulation was at historically low levels in both the Northern and the Southern Hemispheres. The decreased influenza activity seen in Canada and globally is concurrent with the implementation of non-pharmaceutical public health measures to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Although it is difficult to predict when influenza will begin to re-circulate, given the increased COVID-19 vaccination and the relaxation of public health measures, an influenza resurgence can be expected and may be more severe or intense than recent seasons. Influenza vaccination, along with non-pharmaceutical public health measures, continues to remain the best method to prevent the spread and impact of influenza. Public health authorities need to remain vigilant, maintain surveillance and continue to plan for heightened seasonal influenza circulation.