The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services said COVID-19 preventative practices have led to a dramatic drop in the spread of flu in North Carolina. According to a news release, similar trends are being seen nationally and globally. Compared to last year, the state has seen very low levels of influenza and other respiratory illness this year. Only four deaths from flu have been reported so far this season, compared to 186 deaths last season and more than 200 deaths during the 2018-19 season. State health officials said wearing a mask, staying six feet apart, and frequent hand washing have helped slow the spread of influenza.