CDC: Flu season begins to wind down after brutal start, including at least 12,000 deaths

CDC: Flu season begins to wind down after brutal start, including at least 12,000 deaths

CDC: Flu season begins to wind down after brutal start, including at least 12,000 deaths

The spread of influenza or influenza is beginning to decrease in several areas across the US after many hospitals reported unusually high numbers of flu-related admissions this season.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said the number of flu-related cases admission to hospital it fell for the second week in a row, following a similar decline for three straight weeks in the percentage of flu-related doctor visits.

Health officials said Friday that 6.3% of outpatient visits to the doctor last week were for flu-like illnesses, down from 7.5% just a month ago.

CDC: Flu season begins to wind down after brutal start, including at least 12,000 deaths

A view of the Centers for Disease Control headquarters sign in Atlanta, Georgia, United States on August 6, 2022.
(Nathan Posner/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

“It appears that for this first wave of (flu) activity, we may have seen the worst of it,” said the CDC’s Lynnette Brammer, head of the CDC’s Domestic Influenza Surveillance Team.

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Despite the weeks-long decline, Brammer urged people to remain vigilant and follow health-safe behaviors as CDC data shows “high or very high” flu activity in 45 states.

It’s not over, Brammer warned.

dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University, downplayed the recent trend as visible but not predictive the spread of influenza this season.

“Viruses like to make you look foolish when you predict what they’re going to do,” he said.

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Flu shots are lined up at the Community Resource Center of LA Care and Blue Shield of California Promise Health Plans on Friday, Oct. 28, 2022, in Lynwood, Calif.

Flu shots are lined up at the Community Resource Center of LA Care and Blue Shield of California Promise Health Plans on Friday, Oct. 28, 2022, in Lynwood, Calif.
(AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Traditionally, the annual flu season begins in December or January and lasts for several weeks or months before flu-like symptoms begin to disappear in the general population.

This current flu season, however, began in early November and its spread is running parallel to Covid pandemic and the rise of respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV.

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A sign urging people to wear masks at the Clark County-City of Las Vegas ISO-Q (Isolation and Quarantine) Joint Complex in the Cashman Center parking lot on April 13, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

A sign urging people to wear masks at the Clark County-City of Las Vegas ISO-Q (Isolation and Quarantine) Joint Complex in the Cashman Center parking lot on April 13, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
(Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

The CDC estimates that from October 1, 2022, to December 17, 2022, there were between 190,000 and 400,000 hospitalizations and at least 12,000 deaths from influenza in the US. These deaths include at least 17 children.

“CDC does not know the exact number of people who have been sick and affected by influenza because influenza is not a notifiable disease in most areas of the United States,” the CDC said regarding its estimates of the cumulative burden of influenza. “However, these numbers are estimated using a mathematical model, based on observed laboratory-confirmed rates. The cumulative burden of influenza is an estimate of the number of people who were sick, saw a doctor, were hospitalized, or died as a result of influenza within a given time frame.”

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In 2021, the CDC estimated that there were 100,000 influenza-related hospitalizations and 5,000 deaths from influenza in the USA

The CDC recommends that everyone at least 6 months of age or older get the flu shot.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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