SARS-CoV-2 led to changes in our daily interactions worldwide, leading to an unprecedented focus on hand hygiene and surface disinfection. Physical distancing and other health measures restricting movement likely had a corollary effect on decreasing transmission of other viruses such as influenza, measles, and chickenpox during this time. The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) reported record low numbers of influenza across Canada, with no evidence of community circulation in 2021. No flu for a year – what changed? We did. Before the pandemic, close physical contact, inadequate ventilation, improper cleaning and disinfection protocols, and low hand hygiene compliance lead to a predictable wave of influenza and norovirus each year.


Desperate times call for desperate measures, but do we really need to continue to disinfect all surfaces and sanitize our hands several times a day? Are there other lessons derived from the COVID pandemic? The answer to both is yes.