Flu activity rose significantly over the last week, with nearly every state in the union now reporting widespread activity. The Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC) expects influenza activity to remain elevated for the next several weeks.
Since October 1, 2018, there have been up to 15.2 million cases of the flu, up to 7.2 million flu medical visits, and up to 186,000 flu-related hospitalizations, the CDC estimates. Adults ages 65 and older have the highest hospitalization rate, followed by children younger than five years.
Deaths caused by pneumonia and influenza have been hovering at or above the national threshold for the past few weeks, including at least 28 pediatric deaths so far.
Despite the fact that this year’s overall flu activity is turning out to be milder than last year’s, doctors are still encouraging anyone 6 months and older to be vaccinated. Flu season can last until May, and several more cases of the flu are expected to be diagnosed before the season is over.