Verified Flu Cases Decline While Flu Symptoms Increase
For a change of pace, let’s check in on how flu season is progressing. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) latest influenza report, the percent of specimens testing positive for influenza at clinical laboratories continues to decline while influenza activity increased for the second week in a row, following a three-week decline. CDC authorities believe the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is prompting more people to seek care for respiratory illnesses than is typical.
The percentage of respiratory specimens testing positive for influenza was 15.3% in the week ending March 14, compared to 21.1% testing positive the previous week.
According to CDC estimates, there have been at least 38 million illnesses, 390,000 hospitalizations, and 23,000 deaths due to the flu so far this season. Although mortality levels have been low for adults, 149 children have died of flu so far this year, which is a higher than recorded at the same time in every season except for 2009.
Nationally, HINI viruses are the most common, compared to earlier in the season when influenza B viruses were more prominent.