‘The Crud’ is back in 2021 as people stop wearing face masks, social distancing eases, Atrium doctor says


CHARLOTTE, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) – In any other year, the idea of a seasonal illness or virus would not be that big of a deal. But in the era of COVID-19, the pandemic has affected a lot.

In 2020, the rise of COVID actually led to a decline in cases of flu and other seasonal illnesses that are often referred to as “The Crud,” a blanket term that is even used in medical circles for any medical ailment that results in coughing, sneezing, or a runny nose.

But in 2021, “The Crud” is back.

“We’ve seen an uptick in the normal upper-respiratory diseases, and we have seen a return of the flu that we didn’t see at all last Winter,” said Dr. Chris Branner with Atrium Health.

The reason for the decline last year was largely due to masking and social distancing. But with pandemic restrictions easing, cases have risen — and not just for the cold and flu.

“I’m an urgent care pediatrician. I see children with croup. I see kids with hand, foot, and mouth disease,” said Branner. “Adults are coming in with sinusitis, bronchitis, and these things that are commonly called ‘The Crud’ are circulating.”

Branner said, anecdotally, the cases he has seen are becoming equal to that of pre-pandemic levels.

Health officials said the difference between what would constitute “The Crud”, including the flu, from COVID are the on-set of the symptoms. Branner said flu and similar symptoms tend to come on suddenly, while COVID tends to be gradual.

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