According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, weekly flu cases, hospitalizations, and fatalities nearly doubled for the second week in a row.
So far this season, influenza has caused at least 2.8 million illnesses, 23,000 hospitalizations, and 1,300 fatalities. In comparison, the previous week’s projections were 1.6 million illnesses, 13,000 hospitalizations, and 730 deaths.
Furthermore, the cumulative hospitalization rate is currently at 5 per 100,000, the highest at this time in the season since the 2010-11 season, as far back as statistics go.
Furthermore, the CDC reports that 6,465 new people were hospitalized in hospitals this week with flu complications, up from 4,326 the previous week.
Fourteen states, primarily in the southeast and south-central United States, as well as New York City and Washington, D.C., have reported “extremely high” levels of influenza-like activity.
Experts have emphasized that getting vaccinated against the flu is the greatest way to prevent Americans from serious illness and death, but vaccination uptake has been slow in contrast to past flu seasons during the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the CDC, flu vaccination rates among youngsters are similar to last season but lower than two years ago.
As of the week ending Oct. 22, the most recent date for which data is available, 24.8% of people had received flu vaccinations, compared to 32.1% at this time last year.
According to CDC data, flu vaccines among pregnant women are significantly fewer than in recent seasons.
At the end of September, the most recent date for which data is available, 21% of pregnant women had received a flu vaccination. In comparison, at the end of September 2021, 26.4% had been vaccinated, while 38% had been by the end of September 2020.
This is especially concerning because pregnant women are more likely than non-pregnant women to become seriously ill and die.
According to the CDC, getting a flu vaccination can reduce a pregnant woman’s chance of being hospitalized with the flu by roughly 40%.
Furthermore, according to a recent study conducted by the CDC and the University of Auckland in New Zealand, women who receive a flu vaccine had a lower chance of problems such as early birth, low birth weight, and stillbirth.
The new research comes as the United States is experiencing an increase in respiratory infections such as respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV.
According to data from the US Department of Health and Human Services, 78% of the estimated 40,000 pediatric hospital beds in the country are currently occupied by patients, the highest proportion in two years.