US flu activity drops sharply; death toll holds at 24K

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ATLANTA (Gray News) – As COVID-19 cases increase in the United States, flu activity continues to decrease sharply, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Flu activity was high in the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and 28 states. (Source: CDC)

While the U.S. flu season is ebbing, it’s still not over.

“Influenza-like illness activity, while lower than last week, is still elevated,” the CDC said Friday.

The overall severity of this season’s flu remains moderate to low.

The CDC estimates that so far there have been at least 24,000 deaths from flu, 39 million flu illnesses and 400,000 hospitalizations.

Hospitalization rates differ by age group, with high rates among children and young adults.

“Laboratory confirmed influenza-associated hospitalization rates for the U.S. population overall are higher than most recent seasons and rates for children 0-4 years and adults 18-49 years are the highest CDC has on record for these age groups, surpassing rates reported during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic,” the CDC said.

“Hospitalization rates for school-aged children (5-17 years) are higher than any recent regular season but remain lower than rates experienced by this age group during the pandemic.”

A total of 162 influenza-associated deaths in children have been reported this season. That’s an increase of 7 since last week’s report.

“This number is higher than recorded at the same time in every season since reporting began in 2004-05, except for the 2009 pandemic,” the agency said.

Flu activity was high in the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and 28 states.

It was moderate in Idaho, Maine, Michigan, Nebraska, and Utah

It was low in Arkansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Ohio, and South Dakota.

Only minimal amounts of flu were reported in Alaska, Arizona, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Indiana, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

Flu shots are recommended for everyone 6 months of age and older.

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