There have been twice as many pediatric flu fatalities so far this year than at the same time last year, according to recent reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
What’s more, a second strain of the virus that more commonly infects younger people is becoming widespread, the CDC reported Friday.
But experts tell NBC News that this year’s flu season could end up being less severe overall, based on two indicators of severity: hospitalizations and deaths. That’s because this season’s prominent virus strains are typically hitting younger, healthier people.
The flu season so far has distinguished itself from previous years with an early rise in a strain of the virus called B/Victoria. That strain typically does not pop up until the end of flu season, in early spring. The flu season typically lasts from October through April, but activity can last as late as May, according to the CDC.