Monday, November 27, 2023

Flu Cases In Us 2020

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How Many People Die From The Flu Each Year

Flu Cases In US Hit Historic Lows: Doctor Explains Why | TODAY

The answer is slightly complicated: The CDC doesnt have an exact count of the number of people who die from influenza each year. Instead, the federal agency develops estimates based on rates of confirmed hospitalizations from the flu.

For that reason, its difficult to compare flu deaths with those of COVID-19, which are actual documented deaths, says , associate professor of infectious disease at the University at Buffalo in New York. In fact, COVID-19 deaths are being tracked by confirmed cases, but there are still going to be numbers of unconfirmed cases so the deaths from COVID-19 are probably higher then what is being reported, Dr. Hicar says. So far, nearly 51 million Americans have been infected with COVID-19, resulting in more than more than 803,000 deaths, per the latest data from the CDC.

Compared to the 2019-2020 flu season, for example, the CDC estimated that more than 38 million became sick with influenza, leading to 400,000 hospitalizations and 22,000 deaths. Thats slightly lower than the 2018-2019 season and significantly less than the 2017-2018 season .

Why Are Flu Forecasts Needed

When and where flu increases will occur, how large the impact of flu season will be, and when flu season will peak varies from season to season, making the preparation for and response to flu difficult. Flu forecasting can change that by offering the possibility to look into the future and better plan ahead, potentially reducing the impact of flu.

To help support the development of the science of flu forecasting and its application for public health, CDC, through the Epidemic Prediction Initiative , has organized FluSight challenges to forecast the timing, intensity, and short-term activity of influenza seasons since the 2013-2014 season. These challenges have provided the scientific and public health community experience in real-time forecasting, the ability to evaluate forecast accuracy, and experience in communicating and applying these forecasts in real-world settings. For example, forecasts are currently used to help inform CDCs activity summaries provided to public health officials and CDC leadership and public messaging regarding the timing of the influenza season and how the public can protect themselves and their family.

How Can Flu Forecasts Be Used Prior To And During Outbreaks

The potential uses of flu forecasts extend beyond communication, both in seasonal and emergency situations. Flu forecasts can potentially be used to prepare for and prevent illness, hospitalization, and death, as well as the economic burden, experienced during the epidemic. When forecasts accurately predict flu activity, the ability to more effectively plan for public health responses to seasonal flu epidemics and future influenza pandemics is possible. Flu forecasts can inform messaging to health care providers regarding influenza vaccination and antiviral treatment for patients. Forecasts also can help to prepare for an influx of illnesses and hospitalizations, potentially helping inform the distribution and placement of health care staff and treatment resources. Finally, forecasts can be used to guide community mitigation strategies, such as school closures.

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Influenza Virus Still Present

Historically low case counts were recorded during the 2020-21 flu season, which experts say is likely due to COVID-19 pandemic precautions like quarantines, masking and social distancing.

Between Sept. 27, 2020, and April 24, 2021, public health and clinical laboratories reported just 2,038 flu cases, compared to an estimated 38 million cases the season prior, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

But the influenza virus didn’t just disappear, and experts say it’s unlikely last year’s low case numbers will be replicated.

“Heading into this Northern Hemisphere winter season, we have seen far more flu activity than we did this time last year, which had many of us worried we were in for a big season,” Webby said in an email. “Outbreaks at universities supported this. A big season is still very much a possibility, but my personal view is that the rampant omicron activity may make it hard for flu to push in and spread widely.

“With increasing social distancing/masking hopefully coming back, this will help keep flu numbers low as well.”

The CDC data on the 2021-22 flu season shows influenza is still very much active.

Since Oct. 3, when this year’s flu season began, more than 17,300 positive influenza cases have been detected in both clinical and public health laboratories, according to the CDC. There were 1,265 people hospitalized for the flu during the week ending Dec. 18, and two pediatric deaths have occurred since the start of the season.

Outpatient Respiratory Illness Surveillance

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The U.S. Outpatient Influenza-like Illness Surveillance Network monitors outpatient visits for influenza-like illness , not laboratory-confirmed influenza, and will therefore capture respiratory illness visits due to infection with any pathogen that can present with similar symptoms such as influenza, SARS-CoV-2, and RSV. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, health care-seeking behaviors have changed, and people may be accessing the health care system in alternative settings not captured as a part of ILINet or at a different point in their illness than they might have before the pandemic. Therefore, it is important to evaluate syndromic surveillance data, including that from ILINet, in the context of other sources of surveillance data to obtain a complete and accurate picture of influenza, SARS-CoV-2, and other respiratory virus activity. CDC is tracking the COVID-19 pandemic in a weekly publication called COVID Data Tracker Weekly Review. Information about other respiratory virus activity can be found on CDCs National Respiratory and Enteric Virus Surveillance System website.

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Getting A Flu Vaccine During The Covid

Yes. Getting a flu vaccine is an essential part of protecting your health and your familys health this season. To protect your health when getting a flu vaccine, follow CDCs recommendations for running essential errands and doctor visits. Continue to take everyday preventive actions.

When going to get a flu vaccine, practice everyday preventive actions and follow CDC recommendations for running essential errands.

Ask your doctor, pharmacist, or health department if they are following CDCs vaccination pandemic guidance. Any vaccination location following CDCs guidance should be a safe place for you to get a flu vaccine.

You can safely get a flu vaccine at multiple locations including your doctors office, health departments, and pharmacies. You can use VaccineFinder.orgexternal iconexternal icon to find where flu vaccines are available near you. When going to get a flu vaccine, be sure to practice everyday preventive actions.

Ask your doctor, pharmacist, or health department if they are following CDCs vaccination pandemic guidance. Any vaccination location following CDCs guidance should be a safe place for you to get a flu vaccine.

Vaccination of people at high risk for flu complications is especially important to decrease their risk of severe flu illness. Many people at higher risk from flu also seem to be at higher risk from COVID-19. If you are at high risk, it is especially important for you to get a flu vaccine this year.

Flu Cases Plummeted During The 2020

With social distancing measures in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic, confirmed cases of influenza plummeted during the 2020-2021 flu season.

According to data published on the CDC’s website, U.S. clinical health labs and public health labs reported just 2,124 confirmed flu cases between Sept. 27, 2020 and May 15, 2021 .

Those 2,124 cases represent an extreme decline in the spread of the flu compared to the 2019-2020 season. Between October 2019 and April 2020, the CDC estimated that at least 39 million people contracted the flu.

It wasn’t just the U.S. The World Health Organization says that worldwide flu cases also fell to minuscule levels during the 2020-2021 flu season.

It’s clear that social distancing and universal mask mandates impacted the plummeting levels of flu cases in the winter of 2020 and 2021. Data from the CDC shows that patients visiting doctor’s offices for influenza-like illnesses plummeted in March and April of 2020 and have remained low ever since.

But while decreased levels of flu cases may seem like a welcome sign, it’s in some ways left doctors in the dark on how they plan to handle the next flu season.

Scientific American reports that each year’s flu vaccine is based on strains of influenza that have been circulating the previous season. In February, the WHO made recommendations for next year’s vaccine but was forced to do so on much less information than they have in previous years.

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Tested Positive For Covid During The Holidays Here’s What To Do

Testing positive for COVID-19 starts a confusing, disruptive and at times frightening process one that millions of Americans will likely go through in the coming week.

First, you need to isolate. Thats a more intense version of quarantining it means cutting off contact with other people as much as possible so you reduce the chance of infecting them. This also means forgoing travel, not going to work and even limiting contact with people in your own household who aren’t infected.

The CDC says isolating is a necessary step whether youre vaccinated or unvaccinated, and whether you have symptoms or feel fine.

Everyone who tests positive for COVID-19 should monitor their symptoms. And people who are unvaccinated or at high risk for severe disease should be extra-vigilant for symptoms that might require emergency care. Call your doctor for early treatment options.

How long should you isolate? How long will I be contagious? What if you are in close contact with someone who tested positive? Heres what you should know about omicron and COVID-19 this holiday season.

Contributing: Mike Stucka, USA TODAY The Associated Press

What Will Happen When The Flu Returns

VERIFY | Did the US see a drastic decline in flu cases in the most recent flu season?

Influenza is a relatively common illness that has the potential to become deadly, especially among young children, seniors and adults with chronic health conditions. The C.D.C. estimates that the flu has killed 12,000 to 61,000 people a year since 2010.

If immunity to the flu declined during the pandemic because of the lack of exposure to the latest flu strains, more people than usual may be susceptible to the virus.

Every year, anywhere between 20 to 30 percent of the population gets its immunity sort of boosted and stimulated by being exposed to the flu virus, Dr. Webby said. We are not going to have that this year.

Decreases in natural immunity are a concern, Dr. Olsen said, and lower immunity could lead to more infections and more severe disease.

The result could mean larger and out-of-season outbreaks of the flu and of R.S.V., Dr. Baker said. In Florida, in fact, R.S.V. would normally be on the decline at this time of year, but it is currently having an uptick.

If offices and schools begin to reopen in greater numbers in the fall, as many expect, scientists will be watching closely.

We are always concerned about influenza causing severe disease, particularly in persons at increased risk of complications, Dr. Olsen said. We know that school-age children are important drivers of influenza virus transmission. However, because influenza is difficult to predict, we cannot forecast the severity of next season.

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Fauci: Us Should Consider Vaccine Mandate For Domestic Air Travel

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, told MSNBC on Monday that the U.S. should consider a vaccination mandate for domestic air travel.

Fauci, President Joe Bidens chief science adviser on the pandemic response, said such a mandate might drive up the nation’s lagging vaccination rate as well as confer stronger protection on flights. Federal regulations require all those age 2 and older to wear a mask on flights.

“When you make vaccination a requirement, thats another incentive to get more people vaccinated,” Fauci told the network. “If you want to do that with domestic flights, I think thats something that seriously should be considered.”

Outpatient Respiratory Illness Visits By Age Group

More than 70% of ILINet participants provide both the number of patient visits for respiratory illness and the total number of patient visits for the week broken out by age group. Data from this subset of providers are used to calculate the percentages of patient visits for respiratory illness by age group.

The percentage of visits for respiratory illness reported in ILINet are trending upward for all age groups .

* Effective October 3, 2021 , the ILI definition no longer includes without a known cause other than influenza.

View Chart Data | View Full Screen

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New Hospital Patients With Influenza

In recent years, the flu season has peaked at an average of 12,500 diagnosed weekly cases, usually in late January or February, but most cases go undiagnosed. The C.D.C. estimates the number of annual flu cases over the past decade has been between nine million and 41 million.

It is not yet clear how severe this season will be, but the virus will most likely continue to spread in the weeks to come, Dr. Olsen said, and the flu strain that is now the most dominant in the U.S. has in the past been linked to more-severe flu seasons.

That dominant virus, which is a strain of H3N2, is not among the types of flu that this seasons vaccine specifically guards against. That means the flu vaccine may be less effective against that strain, said Richard Webby, a virologist at the St. Jude Childrens Research Hospital in Memphis. But, he said, it is still worth getting immunized.

Even though it’s not a perfect match, and it may not provide you with that protection from getting infected, it’s still going to protect you from getting more severe disease, Dr. Webby said.

Dr. Olsen laid out several possible scenarios for the coming flu season. Cases could peak later in the year than usual, or they could drop off sooner than expected. Or there is still a chance that cases remain lower than what was normal before the pandemic.

Of course, we could also experience a more typical season, she said. It is too soon to know.

What Can The Data Tell Me About Flu Activities In My State

Good News! Flu Cases Disappear in US  Number of Positive ...

Data on ILI activity can give you a sense of how many people have respiratory symptoms in your state.

If the activity level is high in your area, it could mean that the flu is “going around” in your community. You can be more cautious and take preventive steps, such as washing your hands frequently and getting a flu shot, to help reduce veryour risk of getting sick.

If you’re showing flu-like symptoms yourself, call your physician to see if you should go in for a test. In the meantime, you can take antiviral medications such as Tamiflu to help lessen your symptoms. You can wear a mask and avoid close social contact to stop the spread.

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Antigen Tests May Be Less Effective At Detecting Omicron Fda Cautions

COVID-19 antigen tests may have “reduced sensitivity” in detecting the omicron variant, the Food and Drug Administration cautioned Tuesday.

The warning followed preliminary research findings from the National Institutes of Health’s RADx program, which studied the performance of antigen tests with patient samples that have the omicron variant.

“Early data suggests that antigen tests do detect the omicron variant but may have reduced sensitivity,”the FDA wrote Tuesday.

Antigen tests are generally less sensitive and less likely to pick up very early infections compared to molecular tests, according to the FDA. The agency recommends those who test negative with an antigen test, but still suspect they have COVID-19, should take a molecular test as well.

Abbott, a medical device company that makes the widely-used BinaxNOW COVID-19 antigen test, said in a statement its data from customer use has not shown any change in test performance.

“Weve conducted lab analyses and tests on the omicron variant from live virus, including from the first U.S. omicron case, and BinaxNOW detected the virus in all tests we performed at equivalent sensitivity as other variants,” the statement reads.

Celina Tebor, USA TODAY

Flu Surveillance Data Updates

Were there any updates in the methods for flu surveillance for 2020-2021?

For the 2020-2021 flu season, there were some changes to FluView surveillance methodology.

In addition to state-level data, the influenza-like-illness activity map displayed ILI activity by Core-based Statistical Areas , a U.S. geographic area defined by the Office of Management and Budget that consists of one or more counties anchored by an urban center of at least 10,000 people plus adjacent counties that are socioeconomically tied to the urban center by commuting.

Also, during most flu seasons, state and territorial health departments report the level of geographic spread of flu activity in their jurisdictions each week through the State and Territorial Epidemiologists Report. However, because COVID-19 and influenza have similar symptoms and it is difficult to differentiate the two without laboratory testing, reporting for this system was suspended for the 2020-21 influenza season.

More information on flu surveillance methodology and these updates is available online.

Why was pneumonia, influenza, and COVID-19 mortality data added to FluView Interactive?

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Keeping Track Of Flu In Minnesota

Many people get sick with flu every year in Minnesota without ever seeing a doctor or reporting their illness. Therefore, MDH uses various indicators to find out how widespread the flu is in Minnesota each week, rather than trying to track every case. The MDH Public Health Laboratory also tests selected influenza specimens to monitor which flu strains are circulating each flu season.

Hospitalized Surveillance

Hospitals report to MDH when they have a patient admitted to the hospital with laboratory-confirmed influenza. Hospitals are asked to submit specimens to MDH-PHL for influenza testing. MDH provides guidance on infection control and outbreak management, including the use of antiviral medication for treatment and prevention.

Sentinel Surveillance

Physicians and health care providers across the state help to monitor influenza throughout the flu season. Sentinel providers fill out a weekly report detailing the number of patients they’ve seen with influenza-like illness. They also submit additional influenza specimens to the MDH Public Health Lab according to the Sentinel Surveillance program guidelines.

Long-Term Care Facility Surveillance

Facilities report to MDH when they have a suspected or laboratory confirmed influenza outbreak. Specimens can be submitted to MDH-PHL for influenza testing. MDH provides guidance on infection control and outbreak management, including the use of antiviral medication for treatment and prevention.

School Surveillance

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