The Centers for Disease Control are warning that this year’s flu season is just beginning to ramp up, but hospitalization and death rates still remain well below last year’s deadly averages.
The CDC estimates that so far in this year’s flu season — from Oct. 1 to Jan. 19 — there have been 9.8 million to 11.4 million flu illnesses, 4.6 million to 5.4 million flu medical visits and 113,000 to 136,000 hospitalizations related to the flu.
These estimates are preliminary and are based on the CDC’s weekly influenza surveillance reports.
The CDC added that the total number of deaths during this flu season so far cannot be calculated: “Estimates of flu-related deaths will be provided at a later time, when there is sufficient data to support a more precise estimate for that outcome.”
At the beginning of this season, CDC experts said they believed the 2018-2019 season would be milder nationwide.
“We don’t know what’s going to happen, but we’re seeing more encouraging signs than we were early last year,” Dr. Daniel Jernigan, a CDC flu expert, said in September.
Earlier this month, the CDC announced that the flu season was starting to ramp up and was widespread in 24 states.
Hospitalization rates also went up, particularly for children aged 0 to 4, though they still remain comparatively low compared to last year’s season. The death rates were also low as of early January.