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   Whiskey, Fresh Air and Bananas: Daily Life For Those Stuck on Cruise Ship as Coronavirus Cases Soar On Board
   

Cold and Flu

Flu Season Is Worst for Children in a Decade, CDC Data Shows

By Jan Wesner Childs

7 days ago

weather.com

   <img class="styles__noscript__2rw2y" src="https://s.w-x.co/util/image/w/FluMap2.8.2020.png?v=at&w=485&h=273" srcset="https://s.w-x.co/util/image/w/FluMap2.8.2020.png?v=at&w=485&h=273 400w, https://s.w-x.co/util/image/w/FluMap2.8.2020.png?v=ap&w=980&h=551 800w" >

FluMap2.8.2020.png

   Nearly every state in the U.S. reported high concentrations of flu-like illnesses for the week ending Feb. 8, 2020.
   (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

At a Glance

     * At least 92 children have died from influenza so far during the current flu season.
     * Two strains of flu have hit children and young adults especially hard.
     * Experts say the the numbers could continue to increase.

   The number of pediatric deaths from influenza is higher at this point in the flu season than it has been in a decade as a second wave of the virus picked up steam in recent weeks, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

   The latest weekly flu report from the CDC shows that 92 children had died from the influenza virus in the United States as of Feb. 8, or Week 6 of the official flu season. That's the highest number by week since the severe flu season of 2009-10, when 262 children had died by this point in the season, according to CDC statistics.

   Experts say the numbers could continue to increase.

   "We have not yet peaked for influenza. We are still on our way up," Dr. David Weber, a University of North Carolina infectious-diseases specialist, told the Associated Press.

   (MORE: Coronavirus and Flu – Will Air Travel Make You Sick?)

   In all, the flu has killed an estimated 14,000 people in the U.S. this season, with some 26 million infected and 250,000 hospitalized, the CDC said.

   While the overall number of hospitalizations is similar to previous seasons, the high number of pediatric deaths is being attributed to the fact that two strains have been prevalent this season. The first to strike was influenza B, which typically hits kids and young adults harder than other age groups. That was followed by influenza A, which tends to affect children and the elderly.

   Experts have called it a "double barrel" flu season.

   Sixty-two of the pediatric deaths have been attributed to influenza B, while 30 were caused by influenza A, the CDC says.

   New York reported its second-highest weekly number of flu cases since the state began keeping track in 1998, WABC-TV reported. Officials there expect this season to set a record for most flu cases.

   The CDC plans to release data next week on the effectiveness of this year's flu vaccine, but said that the four antiviral medications approved for use against the flu have proven more than 99% effective against the current strains.

   The latest flu numbers come as concern continues to grow over COVID-19, the new strain of coronavirus that has sickened more than 64,000 people, nearly all of them in China. Fifteen people have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the U.S. as of Friday afternoon.

   The CDC announced Friday that health officials in five U.S. cities – Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago and New York City – will begin testing people for COVID-19 if they have respiratory symptoms but test negative for the flu, according to Reuters.

   Flu Insights with Watson helps people better assess and prepare for their flu risk, up to 15 days in advance, down to their ZIP code. Check your local risk in The Weather Channel app.

   The Weather Company’s primary journalistic mission is to report on breaking weather news, the environment and the importance of science to our lives. This story does not necessarily represent the position of our parent company, IBM.
   The Weather Company’s primary journalistic mission is to report on breaking weather news, the environment and the importance of science to our lives. This story does not necessarily represent the position of our parent company, IBM.

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