‘The latest data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicate that there have been at least 32 million cases of influenza in the 2019-20 US flu season.
Have we passed the peak of flu season?
It may be too early to tell, however, the rate of outpatient visits for influenza-like-illness decreased nationwide for the second week in a row. Additionally, the percentage of specimens testing positive for both influenza A and B viruses decreased last week.
While a decline in influenza-like-illness could be a sign the season is slowing down, key indicators that track flu remain high overall. Currently, 45 jurisdictions are experiencing high influenza-like-illness activity and 50 jurisdictions are reporting regional or widespread influenza activity. So far, there have been 310,000 flu-related hospitalizations and 18,000 associated deaths this season.
The rate of hospitalization remains similar to what has been seen at this point in the flu season in recent years for adults and older adults. Overall, the cumulative hospitalization rate for the season stands at 52.7 per 100,000. However, hospitalization rates among children and young adults are higher than usual.
According to the CDC, for the younger populations, hospitalization rates have reached the highest on record since influenza reporting began in 2004-5. The hospitalization rate for children and young adults has surpassed the rate documented during the second wave of the 2009 H1N1 pandemic.
The percentage of deaths related to pneumonia and influenza is currently 6.9%, which is below the epidemic threshold of 7.3%. While mortality for this season is considered low, there have been 125 influenza-associated deaths in children thus far this season. This figure is also higher than every season since reporting began, with the exception of the 2009 pandemic.
FluView data also indicates that the percentage of specimens positive for influenza at clinical laboratories decreased from 29.7% last week to 26.4% this week. At this point, influenza B/Victoria and A(H1N1)pdm09 viruses are approximately equal for the season overall, and continued increases in influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 viruses have been seen in recent weeks.’