Jan 9, 2024 - News

Flu season is here — plus COVID and RSV, too

Influenza activity levels
Data: CDC; Map: Axios Visuals

Odds are you know somebody who's recently felt under the weather, with a post-holidays spike in respiratory viruses sweeping across the country.

Why it matters: This year's virus season appears to be returning to patterns typically seen before the pandemic — which means a peak may be a little while away yet.

The latest: About half of states, including Ohio, were reporting "very high" flu activity as of Dec. 30, according to the latest CDC data released Friday.

Zoom in: The percentage of flu tests coming back positive through Ohio clinical laboratories was at its highest so far (about 14%) the week beginning Dec. 17, per CDC data.

Flashback: During last season's peak in late November and early December, the percentage climbed as high as nearly 33%, as many people were particularly vulnerable to illness after the protection of two years of mask mandates.

Data: CDC; Chart: Axios Visuals

Be smart: It's not too late to get a flu or COVID vaccine to protect yourself against serious illness and complications.

  • Plus: RSV vaccines for adults ages 60 and older, and pregnant people, are available for the first time. The latter passes antibodies to a fetus during the third trimester.

Plus: Every household in the U.S. can order eight free at-home COVID tests from the federal government.

What's next: The CDC's dashboards are updated weekly on Fridays, so in a few days we'll see whether virus cases are continuing to surge into the New Year.

Editor's note: This article has been corrected to remove a reference to RSV immunization for infants being in short supply.

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