The number of tuberculosis cases reported in the United States in 2021 remained 13% lower than the years before the coronavirus pandemic started, the second year in a row of low TB numbers, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2020, reported TB cases in the United States plunged by 20%, CDC said.
Prior to COVID-19, diagnoses for TB were declining by 1% or 2% per year, and new data has shown that the pandemic has had a considerable effect on declines.
The CDC said the decline in TB diagnoses could be related to protective measures put in place for COVID-19, such as keeping a minimum distance of six feet, reducing physical contact, or wearing a mask. Another reason for the lower reporting could be missed TB diagnoses, as it appears that symptoms of both TB and COVID-19 are similar.