New flu cases drop; death toll tops 24K

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ATLANTA (Gray News) – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a paradox on its hands.

Flu activity was high in the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and 34 states. (Source: CDC)

While the number of confirmed flu cases in the United States is going down, the number of Americans seeking care for flu-like illness is increasing.

“This could be due to more people with respiratory symptoms seeking care, possibly because of COVID-19,” the CDC said.

The overall severity of this season’s flu remains moderate to low.

The CDC estimates that so far there have been at least 24,000 deaths from flu, 39 million flu illnesses and 400,000 hospitalizations.

Hospitalization rates vary by age, with rates higher among children and young adults.

“Laboratory confirmed influenza-associated hospitalization rates for the U.S. population overall are higher than most recent seasons and rates for children 0-4 years and adults 18-49 years are the highest CDC has on record for these age groups, surpassing rates reported during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic,” the CDC said.

“Hospitalization rates for school-aged children (5-17 years) are higher than any recent regular season but remain lower than rates experienced by this age group during the pandemic.”

A total of 155 influenza-associated deaths in children have been reported this season. That’s an increase of 6 since last week’s report.

“This number is higher than recorded at the same time in every season since reporting began in 2004-05, except for the 2009 pandemic,” according to the agency.

Flu activity was high in the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and 34 states.

It was moderate in Arkansas, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Missouri, Nevada, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wyoming.

It was low in Alaska and Delaware.

Only minimal amounts of flu were reported in Arizona, Florida, New Hampshire and Rhode Island.

Flu shots are recommended for everyone 6 months of age and older.

It takes about two weeks for antibodies to develop and provide protection against the flu after your vaccination.

The CDC says antiviral medicines have been effective this season, with 99% of influenza viruses susceptible to the four FDA-approved medications.

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