Jan. 24 (UPI) — As worries surrounding the coronavirus outbreak continue to rise, the CDC announced on Friday that more than 15 million Americans have fallen ill from a far more common bug — the flu — according to new estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
That’s 2 million new cases over the most recent seven-day period, the agency reported.
In its weekly FluView report, released Friday, the CDC said that so far this winter season, the virus has caused 140,000 people to be hospitalized. To date, approximately 8,200 people in the U.S. have died from flu-related causes, including 54 children.
During the most recent reporting period, which ended on Jan. 18, 6.7 percent of all deaths across the country were linked with pneumonia and influenza. This figure is below the agency’s threshold for an epidemic, which is 7 percent.
In all, 4.7 percent of all healthcare visits in the U.S. last week were associated with “influenza-like illness,” down from 5 percent the previous week. However, 35 states reported “high” or widespread flu activity — Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming — in addition to New York City and Puerto Rico.
Thirty-two states made similar reports the prior week.
Approximately 60 percent of all flu virus samples tested so far this winter have been influenza type B, the less virulent form.