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Flu Cases Soared After Thanksgiving as Season Worsens


Respiratory virus activity remains elevated across the country amid an influenza season that hit the country earlier than expected and hard.

Respiratory viruses on the rise in US cities 2:49

(CNN) --

Influenza cases spiked in the United States after Thanksgiving, leading to the most severe week to date in a season that hit the country very early.

More than a third of all flu hospitalizations and deaths recorded so far this season have occurred in the past week, and cases have risen at nearly the same rate.

New data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that there have been at least 13 million illnesses, 120,000 hospitalizations and 7,300 deaths from influenza in what it's about the season

The latest update includes data through December 3 and is the first full week of data after Thanksgiving.

It shows that respiratory virus activity remains elevated across the country in the midst of a flu season that has hit the US earlier than expected and hard, and health officials have warned that gathering indoors during the holidays can lead to an increase in cases.

According to the CDC, all but seven states have "high" or "very high" respiratory virus activity.

States with moderate, low, or minimal activity are Alaska, Hawaii, Michigan, New Hampshire, South Dakota, Vermont, and West Virginia.

  • The seasonal flu season in the US has not been this severe this early in the year in more than a decade

There have been about 26 influenza hospitalizations per 100,000 people, a rate that had not reached these levels for more than a decade at this point in the season.


Nearly 26,000 people were admitted to hospital with flu last week, taking up some 6,000 more beds than the previous week.

About 1 in 4 lab tests came back positive for influenza last week and nearly 1 in 10 deaths were due to pneumonia, influenza or covid-19, well above the epidemic threshold of about 6%.

Data from Walgreens tracking prescriptions for Tamiflu and other flu treatments suggest that flu pockets stretch from El Paso to southwestern Virginia.

Last year's flu season was relatively mild, but the number of flu cases, hospitalizations, and deaths reported so far in the current season has already exceeded the total number reported for all of last season.

Hospitals are more crowded now than they have been during the entire covid-19 pandemic, according to a CNN analysis of data from the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Around 80% of hospital beds are in use across the country, which is an increase of 8 percentage points in the last two weeks.

  • Pediatric pain and fever medications are in high demand.

    This you can do if you don't get them

Since mid-2020, hospitals have been required to provide information on their capacity, as part of a federal effort to monitor the effects of the covid-19 pandemic.

Hospitals have been at more than 70% capacity for most of that time.

But they reached 80% at another time: in January, during the peak of the omicron surge in the United States.

In January, around a quarter of hospital beds were occupied by covid-19 patients.

But now, they only represent 6% of hospital occupancy.

In a statement released Friday, Nancy Foster, vice president of quality and patient safety for the American Hospital Association, says the influx of flu patients is one of the main reasons hospitals are filling up, but also they face respiratory syncytial virus and diseases of people who postponed care during the pandemic.

"The shortage of staff has not only made the work of hospitals difficult, but has also decreased the number of patients who can be cared for in nursing homes and other palliative care or rehabilitation centers," the statement said.

"Thus, patients are spending more time in hospitals, waiting to be discharged to the next level of care and limiting our ability to make a bed available for a patient who really needs to be hospitalized."


Source: cnnespanol

All news articles on 2022-12-10

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