(WWLP) – American public health officials are keeping an eye on the southern hemisphere this summer as they try to predict what kind of flu season we are in for.

Flu cases are surging in Australia this season for the first time since the coronavirus began. It started earlier than usual and hit children ages five through nine the worst of any age group, which is abnormal.

Experts say immunity against the flu has likely lessened with the extra protection from covid-19 precautions, so flu shots will be extra important this year.