Updated Dec 3, 2022 - Health

44 states report high activity amid worsening flu season

A man wearing masks walks past a CVS Pharmacy where a "Free flue shots here" sign

A man wearing masks walks past a CVS Pharmacy. Photo: Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images

The United States is still suffering from a hard spell of the flu so far this year, new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show.

Why it matters: Flu season normally doesn't really ramp up until December and peaks around January or February. But it appears the illness is kicking into high gear early and not slowing down.

By the numbers: 44 states reported high or very high flu activity over the last week, according to the CDC's surveillance report map.

  • At least 19,593 patients were hospitalized with the flu in that time frame, the CDC said.
  • 2 child deaths tied to the flu were reported as well, CDC said. There have been 14 so far this season.
  • About 7.5% of outpatient medical visits last week were related to a flu-like sickness, which is on a similar level as the 2017-2018 season and higher than any season amid the pandemic, health officials said, per AP.
Weekly flu activity map.
Respiratory illness activity map. Photo: CDC

Yes, but: Officials assess the visits based on reports of symptoms, like coughs or sore throats, rather than any lab-based diagnosis, AP reports. This means that some of this could be tied to other respiratory illnesses.

The big picture: People recently gathered for Thanksgiving and more holiday travel is on the way, meaning there's potential for more spread in the near future, AP reports.

  • US Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra wrote in a letter to governors that the Biden administration "stands ready to continue assisting you with resources, supplies, and personnel" over the rise in flu cases.
  • HHS did not immediately respond to Axios' request for comment.

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