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Dec. 12, 2022 — The number of Americans hospitalized with the flu has hit the highest level in at least a decade in the country, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday.
But the CDC said in its report that deaths and outpatient visits from the flu or flu-like illness were down slightly from the previous week Weekly FluView Report.
During the seven-day period, nearly 26,000 new admissions involved lab-confirmed flu, an increase of more than 31% from the previous week, according to data from 5,000 hospitals in the HHS Protect system, which tracks and shares COVID-19 data.
The cumulative hospitalization rate for 2022-23 is 26.0 cases per 100,000 people, the highest for this time of year since 2010-11, according to its Flu Hospitalization Surveillance Network, which includes counties in some U.S. counties. Hospitals in 13 states.
At this point in the 2019-20 season, just before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the cumulative rate was 3.1 cases per 100,000 people, CDC data showsecond.
On a positive note, outpatient visits for influenza-like illness fell slightly to 7.2% from 7.5% the week before. However, these cases from CDC’s Outpatient Influenza-like Illness Surveillance Network were not laboratory-confirmed, so the data may include patients with influenza, COVID-19, or respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).
Confirmed flu deaths for the week of Nov. 27-Dec. 3 also fell slightly compared with the last full week of November, at 246 and 255, respectively, but child deaths increased from two to seven, and the total number of children died. The death toll has reached 21 in 2022-23. That compares with 44 cases reported for the entire 2021-22 season, the CDC said.
“So far this quarter, at least 13 million people have been sickened, 120,000 have been hospitalized, and 7,300 have died from the flu,” the agency estimates.