More than six million Americans have been infected with the flu and nearly 3,000 have died from the disease since October – in the worst outbreak in a decade.
The latest figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also show that there have been 53,000 hospitalizations during that time.
A total of 18 states reported ‘very high’ levels of flu for the week ending November 19, four more than the previous seven days. New Mexico, Texas and Tennessee were hardest hit.
Flu season in the US kicked off earlier this year, with seasonal viruses returning with vengeance after lockdowns, masks and other measures prevent exposure to healthy germs.
The wave of illness has also caused shortages of important drugs, including the children’s drug amoxicillin, which is used to treat fever in children.
The chart above shows the number of positive flu tests reported to the CDC by the week to November 19, the most recent week available. Cases are continuing to rise after the season started weeks earlier than expected
A total of 18 states currently have very high levels of flu with three states — New Mexico, Tennessee and Texas — facing the highest levels in the nation. This is four more than at the same time last week
The CDC publishes weekly flu estimates for the number of cases, hospitalizations, and deaths caused by the disease throughout the season.
The latest number of infections is 36% higher than the 4.4 million cases estimated last week and more than double the 2.8 million cases two weeks ago.
The number of deaths also increased from 1,300 recorded two weeks earlier.
Hospitalization data shows that 53,000 Americans have now been admitted to emergency departments this flu season.
The hospitalization rate was 11.3 admissions per 100,000 people in the week to November 19, higher than at any other time of year at this time of year since 2010-2011.
In 2009, the United States was affected by swine flu, causing 60 million illnesses, 274,000 hospitalizations and 12,500 deaths.
Influenza, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and other seasonal threats have been absent since 2020 after Covid control restrictions stopped them from spreading.
This year Covid is still circulating, but has remained at about 300,000 cases per week since the beginning of October.
But this year they returned with vengeance, spreading rapidly — and infecting many children for the first time.
This graph shows flu hospitalizations by year, with the current season represented by the black line with red triangles. It shows higher levels this year than at any other time since 2010
The picture above is the weekly Covid cases across the US, according to the CDC
Where has the flu gone in the last two years…
The spread of influenza was largely contained during the first two years of the Covid pandemic.
Viral interference from Covid – which has prevented other viruses from spreading – combined with mitigation measures such as wearing face masks and restrictions on indoor events has resulted in the virus spreading. spread little.
As a result, immunity weakens in many individuals because the lack of infection means it is not restarted.
And the youngest babies never form immunity to seasonal threats because they’re not exposed to good germs.
This has many experts warning the seasonal virus could return with a vengeance this year.
There have been early warning signs in Australia and New Zealand — a ‘signal bell’ for outbreaks in the US — both of which are facing record flu seasons.
There, children’s hospitals also faced a spike in hospitalizations, just like the US today.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, has issued a warning about the dramatic spread of flu in the Southern Hemisphere.
About 14 states — mostly in the south — are facing very high levels of flu despite being early in the season.
Experts say flu cases are higher this year because flu has been eliminated for most of the pandemic.
Even the youngest children fail to build defenses against viruses due to not being exposed to good germs.
Warnings of a bad flu season were issued months ago after Australia and New Zealand – often precursors to outbreaks in the US – both faced record flu seasons.
Canberra recorded 65,000 cases in May this year, more than double the 30,000 cases in 2019 the year before the pandemic began.
Children’s hospitals in the country are also facing a spike in patient admissions that – according to a warning for the US – have forced some hospitals to shift resources away from care services. other.
But US officials did not heed the warnings and stocked up on treatments.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has reported a shortage of amoxicillin, an antibiotic primarily intended for children used to treat bacterial infections such as pneumonia and urinary tract infections. respiratory and streptococcal pharyngitis – all of which become more common after a flu infection.
Local pharmacies also said they were running out of Tamiflu, Augmentin – which contains amoxicillin – and Tylenol. There is also a shortage of Albuterol inhalers.
However, the Biden administration has spent more than $5 billion on a two-price Covid vaccine.
The CDC recommends that everyone over the age of six months get a flu vaccine every year.
The anti-Covid two-valent booster injection is also being made available to everyone over the age of five.
But less than 12 percent of those eligible have had a Covid shot.
Use of the flu vaccine is also slowing, with 150 million doses delivered so far – 13 million fewer than at the same time last year.
To boost traction, the Biden administration launched a campaign worth more than $475 million that will last for six weeks.
Source: | This article originally belonged to Dailymail.co.uk