(USA Features) As Americans continue to be concerned over the emerging coronavirus outbreak, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a report on the still peaking influenza season that is disturbing.
For the week ending March 14, the health agency said, some 23,000 Americans have died this year from flu. In addition, the report said, the highest number of children and people age 18-49 have required hospitalization since the 2009 H1N1 pandemic.
“Hospitalization rates for school-aged children (5-17 years) are higher than any recent regular season but remain lower than rates experienced by this age group during the pandemic,” the report said.
Five influenza-associated pediatric deaths occurring during the 2019-20 season were reported this week. The total pediatric deaths for the season is 149.
The report also noted that the outbreak of COVID-19 could affect “healthcare seeking behavior which in turn would impact data” from the Influenza-like Illness Surveillance Network or ILINet.
Other report findings include:
- CDC estimates that so far this season there have been at least 38 million flu illnesses, 390,000 hospitalizations and 23,000 deaths from flu.
- Pneumonia and influenza mortality levels have been low, comparatively speaking.
- Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, more people may be seeking care for respiratory illness than usual at this time.