"Seasonal influenza activity is elevated across the country," the health agency wrote in its latest edition of the "Weekly U.S. Influenza Surveillance Report," which covered data until November 19.
"CDC estimates that, so far this season, there have been at least 6.2 million illnesses, 53,000 hospitalizations, and 2,900 deaths from flu," the report states. "CDC recommends that everyone ages 6 months and older get a flu vaccine annually. Now is a good time to get vaccinated if you haven’t already."
During the height of Covid infections, the CDC reported that flu activity was significantly lower worldwide.
"Flu activity was unusually low throughout the 2020-2021 flu season both in the United States and globally, despite high levels of testing. During September 28, 2020–May 22, 2021 in the United States, 1,675 (0.2%) of 818,939 respiratory specimens tested by U.S. clinical laboratories were positive for an influenza virus.
The low level of flu activity during that season contributed to "dramatically fewer flu illnesses, hospitalizations, and deaths compared with previous flu seasons," said the health agency.
In the 2020-2021 flu season, the CDC only received one report of a child dying of the flu. Just in the last week alone leading up to Nov. 19, there were five reports of pediatric flu deaths for a total of 12 so far this season.
"In terms of hospitalizations, the cumulative rate of laboratory-confirmed influenza-associated hospitalizations in the 2020-2021 season was the lowest recorded since this type of data collection began in 2005," the CDC reported.
Now, the hospitalization rate is higher during the same periods in the flu season than in the previous 11-12 years.
"The overall cumulative hospitalization rate per 100,000 population was 11.3. This cumulative hospitalization rate is higher than the cumulative in-season hospitalization rate observed in week 46 during previous seasons going back to 2010-2011, which ranged from 0.1 to 1.4."
An estimated 53,000 people this season have been hospitalized by flu so far, the agency said.
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