Although the media are focused on the coronavirus and the two fatalities that have taken place in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), influenza and related pneumonia are widespread across the country.
“CDC estimates that so far this season there have been at least 32 million flu illnesses, 310,000 hospitalizations and 18,000 deaths from flu,” the CDC’s weekly Influenza Surveillance Report said as of February 22, 2020.
“The percentage of death attributed to pneumonia and influenza is 6.9 percent, below the epidemic threshold of 7.3 percent,” the CDC reported.
Among the deaths are more than 100 children.
“Twenty influenza-associated pediatric deaths occurring during the 2019-2020 season were reported this week,” the CDC reported. “The total for the season is 125.”
“This number [of pediatric deaths] is higher for the same time period than in every season since reporting began in 2004-05, except for the 2009 pandemic,” the CDC reported.
But overall, flu activity was down, according to the CDC.
“Key indicators that track flu activity remain high but decreased for the second week in a row,” the CDC reported. “Severity indicators (hospitalizations and deaths) remain moderate to low overall, but hospitalization rates differ by age group, with high rates among children and young adults.”
The CDC also released information on the effectiveness of this year’s vaccines.
“Interim estimates of 2019-2020 flu vaccine effectiveness were released last week,” the CDC reported. “So far this season, flu vaccines are reducing doctor’s visits for flu illness by 45 percent overall and 55 percent in children.”
A CDC map shows that every state and U.S. territories have reported cases of the flu, with the District of Columbia and Idaho with low levels and Florida and the U.S. Virgin Islands with minimal levels.
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