Flu activity remains high, but decreased for a second week in a row, according to CDC data



CNN

Seasonal flu activity remains high in the United States, but continues to slow in most parts of the country, according to data released Friday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Hospital admissions due to the flu decreased for the second week in a row last week. There were nearly 21,000 new hospitalizations in the week ending December 17. That’s lower than the season-high of more than 26,000 new admissions two weeks ago, the week following Thanksgiving.

Despite these developments, it is not clear whether the virus has peaked. Respiratory virus activity continues to be “high” or “very high” in nearly every state, and experts warn that things could rise again as holiday travel and meetings continue.

The CDC estimates there have been at least 18 million illnesses, 190,000 hospitalizations and 12,000 deaths from the flu so far this season.

The cumulative hospitalization rate is more than six times higher than at this point in the season in more than a decade.

And the flu isn’t the only virus in circulation; A stew of other respiratory viruses has been spreading for weeks, causing an unusually high number of hospitalizations.

As of Friday, hospital capacity continues to be close to record levels, with around 77% of beds used across the country.

RSV peaked in the US as test-positive rates and new hospitalization rates slowed last month, and weekly RSV hospitalizations dropped significantly over the past month. But hospitalizations are still slightly higher than normal.

Covid-19 levels remain well below previous fluctuations, but trends are certainly on the rise across the US: New hospital admissions increased by nearly 50% last month.

D., chair of the Infectious Diseases Committee of the American Academy of Pediatrics and professor of pediatric infectious diseases at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and Colorado Children’s Hospital. Sean O’Leary told CNN it’s hard to predict what will happen since RSV. Flu season has both started early and may already be peaking.

Vacation can still lead to an increase in diseases.

“Holidays lead to a sometimes small, sometimes modest increase in infections as people gather indoors,” O’Leary said.

US health officials are urging people to focus on getting vaccinated against flu and Covid-19, wearing masks in higher-risk situations, and washing hands.

White House Covid-19 response coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha specifically urged people to stick to one rule of thumb: “If you’re feeling sick, you should stay home.”

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