Flu falling but remains high in most parts of the country

Vaccinations
Several flu vaccines are lined up in a pan at the L.A. Care and Blue Shield of California Promise Health Plans’ Community Resource Center where they were offering members and the public free flu and COVID-19 vaccines Friday, Oct. 28, 2022, in Lynwood, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill) Mark J. Terrill/AP

Flu falling but remains high in most parts of the country

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Flu cases are declining across the country, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says they remain high.

Forty-eight jurisdictions reported “high” or “very high” flu activity, though the number of hospital admissions because of the flu decreased nationally for the second week in a row up to Dec. 17.

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The hospitalization rate, however, is six times as high as for the same period of flu seasons dating back to 2010-2011.

There have been at least 18 million flu cases this season, 190,000 hospitalizations, and 12,000 deaths. In total, 47 pediatric flu deaths have been reported this season.

The early surge in flu cases this season strained hospitals, which continue to grapple with higher-than-normal volumes of other respiratory viruses. These include respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, particularly among children, and COVID-19 cases. The CDC reported this month that COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths have risen in recent weeks.

Despite cases trending downwards in most areas, health officials caution that cases could jump again after the holidays. Hospital admissions for flu for Thanksgiving week nearly doubled the previous week, CDC data showed.

“If you’re close together with other people, it’s an opportunity for all three of these viruses — flu, Covid, and even RSV — to spread from one person to another. So, we do expect a post-holiday surge in these viruses,” Dr. William Schaffner, medical director of the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases, told CNN.

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Cold and flu medications, especially for children, are in short supply as a result of the trio of illnesses circulating at the same time. Earlier this month, the Biden administration made additional doses of Tamiflu, a prescription medication used to treat and prevent the flu, available to states through the Strategic National Stockpile to address the high volume of cases.

© 2022 Washington Examiner

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