Weekly flu cases, hospitalizations and deaths double for 2nd straight week

Weekly flu cases, hospitalizations and deaths nearly doubled for the second week in a row, according to Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

So far this season, there have been at least 2.8 million illnesses, 23,000 hospitalizations and 1,300 deaths from the flu.

By comparison, the previous week’s estimates had illnesses at 1.6 million, hospitalizations at 13,000 and deaths at 730.

Moreover, the cumulative hospitalization rate currently sits at 5 per 100,000, which is the highest at this stage of the season since the 2010-11 season, as far as statistics are available.

Additionally, 6,465 new patients were admitted to hospital last week with flu complications, according to the CDC, up from 4,326 the previous week.

Fourteen states – mostly in the southeastern and south-central regions of the United States – as well as New York and Washington, DC, are reporting “very high” levels of flu-like activity.

Licensed vocational nurse Theresa Jackson, left, is pictured getting a flu shot at San Fernando Middle School on Oct. 16, 2020 in San Francisco.

Francine Orr/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Experts have pointed out that getting the flu shot is the best way to protect Americans from serious illness and death, but vaccination has been slow compared to previous flu seasons during the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to the CDC Dataflu vaccination in children remains similar to last season but is lower than two years ago.

At the end of the week of October 22, the last date for which data is available, 24.8% had been vaccinated against influenza compared to 32.1% on this date in October 2020.

CDC data shows that flu vaccinations among pregnant women are much lower compared to previous seasons.

At the end of September, the last date for which data are available, 21% of pregnant women were vaccinated against influenza. In comparison, 26.4% had been vaccinated by the end of September 2021 and 38% had been by the end of September 2020.

This is of particular concern because pregnant women are more likely to become seriously ill and die than women who are not pregnant.

Getting the flu shot can reduce a pregnant woman’s risk of hospitalization with the flu about 40%According to the CDC.

Additionally, a recent study conducted jointly by the CDC and the University of Auckland, New Zealand, found that women who receive a flu vaccine have a lower risk of complications, including premature birth, low birth weight and a stillbirth.

The most recent data comes as the United States experiences an upsurge in respiratory illnesses, including respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV.

Data from the US Department of Health and Human Services showed that 78% of the country’s estimated 40,000 pediatric hospital beds are occupied by patients – the highest figure recorded in two years.

Sony Salzman and ABC News’ Eric Strauss contributed to this report.

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