For the first time since the week ending February 29, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released its Weekly U.S. Influenza Surveillance Report, which shows that the death toll from the seasonal flu has reached 22,000, including 144 children.
The CDC website notes the tardiness of the report.
“The COVID-19 outbreak unfolding in the United States may affect healthcare seeking behavior which in turn would impact data from ILINet (Outpatient Influenza-like Illness Surveillance Network),” the website stated.
The website provided updated information:
Flu activity as reported by clinical laboratories remains high but decreased for the fourth week in a row; however, influenza-like illness activity increased slightly. Severity indicators remain moderate to low overall, but hospitalization rates differ by age group, with high rates among children and young adults.
Nationally, influenza A(H1N1)psm09 viruses are now the most commonly reported influenza viruses this season. Previously, influenza B/Victoria viruses predominated nationally.
But this flu season has broken at least one record.
Laboratory-confirmed influenza-associated hospitalization rates for the overall U.S. population remain moderate compared to recent seasons, but rates for children 0-4 years and adults 18-49 years are now the highest CDC has on record for these age groups, surpassing rates reported during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic.
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.
The report also noted at least 36 million flu illnesses in the United States and 370,000 hospitalizations.
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