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.

Cases: 1686993

Reported Deaths: 48247
CountyCasesDeaths
Queens2172658903
Kings2169639239
Suffolk1658793120
Nassau1519702951
Bronx1482105943
Westchester1099512122
New York1068643974
Erie666041616
Richmond585451602
Monroe53274997
Rockland39546896
Orange38029730
Onondaga32733636
Dutchess22900413
Albany21180334
Oneida19896481
Niagara15508315
Broome15384339
Saratoga12190148
Schenectady11010178
Ulster10279231
Rensselaer9205132
Putnam853986
Chautauqua7425125
Chemung6480130
Oswego610689
Ontario589890
St. Lawrence568990
Steuben5581138
Cayuga542889
Jefferson489163
Sullivan486360
Herkimer4601107
Wayne452865
Cattaraugus448977
Genesee4473118
Madison389385
Clinton376127
Livingston359956
Tompkins350943
Columbia344396
Fulton342485
Montgomery3244107
Cortland323160
Allegany292481
Warren290755
Wyoming287949
Tioga285456
Greene270071
Chenango248770
Orleans247282
Otsego247043
Washington239754
Franklin216012
Lewis209630
Seneca164853
Delaware157333
Essex136326
Schoharie124313
Yates102326
Schuyler87212
Hamilton2852
Unassigned16099
Out of NY0194
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