U.S. flu season gets worse than expected

Health officials said flu was blanketing the country but they thought there was a good chance the season was already peaking. But the newest numbers out Friday show it grew even more intense.

Posted: Jan 20, 2018 10:48 AM
Updated: Jan 22, 2018 11:45 AM

NEW YORK (AP) — The flu season in the U.S. is getting worse.

Health officials last week said flu was blanketing the country but they thought there was a good chance the season was already peaking. But the newest numbers out Friday show it grew even more intense.

“This is a season that has a lot more steam than we thought,” said Dr. Dan Jernigan of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

One measure of the season is how many doctor or hospital visits are because of a high fever, cough and other flu symptoms. Thirty-two states reported high patient traffic last week, up from 26 the previous week. Overall, it was the busiest week for flu symptoms in nine years.

Hawaii is the only state that doesn’t have widespread illnesses.

This year’s flu season got off to an early start, and it’s been driven by a nasty type of flu that tends to put more people in the hospital and cause more deaths than other common flu bugs. In New York, state officials say a drastic rise in flu cases hospitalized more than 1,600 this past week.

The flu became intense last month in the U.S. The last two weekly report show flu widespread over the entire continental United States, which is unusual.

Usually, flu seasons start to wane after so much activity, but “it’s difficult to predict,” Jernigan said.

Flu is a contagious respiratory illness, spread by a virus. It can cause a miserable but relatively mild illness in many people, but more a more severe illness in others. Young children and the elderly are at greatest risk from flu and its complications. In a bad season, there as many as 56,000 deaths connected to the flu. In the U.S., annual flu shots are recommended for everyone age 6 months or older.

In Oklahoma and Texas, some school districts canceled classes this week because so many students and teachers were sick with the flu and other illnesses. In Mississippi, flu outbreaks have hit more than 100 nursing homes and other long-term care places, resulting in some restricting visitors.

New York Coronavirus Cases

County data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 370770

Reported Deaths: 29784
CountyConfirmedDeaths
New York City20330321569
Nassau403962122
Suffolk396431901
Westchester334811371
Rockland13151631
Orange10406444
Erie6070516
Dutchess3909139
Monroe2942216
Onondaga2170131
Albany186076
Ulster168574
Sullivan138731
Putnam125260
Niagara103763
Oneida102746
Schenectady68929
Broome56644
Rensselaer49128
Saratoga48014
Columbia38732
Madison31610
Warren25528
Steuben24141
Greene23818
Washington23513
Orleans22933
Fulton20818
Ontario2079
St. Lawrence2042
Genesee2024
Tompkins1640
Chemung1371
Chenango1330
Tioga13021
Livingston1197
Wayne1153
Oswego1093
Herkimer1083
Clinton954
Cayuga911
Montgomery914
Cattaraugus880
Wyoming865
Chautauqua844
Delaware794
Jefferson740
Otsego725
Seneca580
Schoharie500
Allegany450
Cortland410
Yates396
Essex370
Franklin220
Lewis200
Schuyler110
Hamilton50
Unassigned00
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