It’s beginning to look less like an epidemic as seasonal flu activity “appears to be declining in some areas,” the CDC said this week.
Declines in a few states and territories were enough to lower national activity, as measured by outpatient visits for influenza-like illness, for the second consecutive week. This reduced the weekly number of hospital admissions for the first time this season, according to the CDC Influenza Division’s weekly FluView report.
Flu-related hospital admissions slipped to about 23,500 during the week of Dec. 4-10, after topping 26,000 the week before, based on data reported by 5,000 hospitals from all states and territories.
The weekly hospitalization rate tumbled from 8 per 100,000 people to 4.5 per 100,000, which was still higher than any other December rate from all previous seasons going back to 2009-10, CDC data shows.
Visits for flu-like illness represented 6.9% of all outpatient visits reported to the CDC during the week of Dec. 4-10. The rate reached 7.5% during the last full week of November before dropping to 7.3%, the CDC said.
There were 28 states or territories with “very high” activity for the latest reporting week, compared with 32 the previous week. Eight states — Colorado, Idaho, Kentucky, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Washington — and New York City were at the very highest level on the CDC’s 1-13 scale of activity, compared with 14 areas the week before, the agency reported.
So far this season, the CDC estimated there have been at least 15 million cases of the flu, 150,000 hospitalizations, and 9,300 deaths. Among those deaths have been 30 reported in children, compared with 44 for the entire 2021-22 season and just one for 2020-21.
CDC: “Weekly U.S. Influenza Surveillance Report.”