Flu season is likely coming to a close in the coming weeks as laboratory-confirmed flu activity reported by clinical laboratories plateaus, data from the CDC shows.
The CDC’s Weekly US Influenza Surveillance Report says that confirmed cases of flu have slowed with the percentage of respiratory specimens testing positive for influenza now hovering around 0.4% during most of the month of April.
The report cautions that healthcare-seeking behavior may have changed because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the CDC’s data may have been impacted. The percent of deaths due to pneumonia remains high, but the increase is due primarily to the COVID-19 pandemic, not influenza.
During the week ending April 18, the CDC’s data shows that 11.4% of the deaths were due to pneumonia and influenza. This death rate is above the epidemic threshold of 6.9% for week 16.
Labs have confirmed a total of 169 influenza-associated pediatric deaths this season. The report also showed a total of 19,932 laboratory-confirmed influenza-associated hospitalizations with a cumulative hospitalization rate of 68.6 per 100,000 population.
During week 16 of the flu season, 2.2% of patient visits reported through to the CDC were due to influenza-like illness, which is below the national baseline of 2.4%. Visits to healthcare providers for influenza-like illnesses have dropped from 2.8% last week to 2.2% during the reported week.
While most of the country has seen a drop off in reported cases of influenza-like symptoms, New York City, Washington DC, and six states saw high to very high levels of reported flu-like symptoms.