ATLANTA (Gray News) – America’s flu season continues to ebb even as COVID-19 cases increase, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Lab-confirmed flu cases are now low, but the CDC believes that’s because fewer people are going to doctors because of the coronavirus outbreak.
Overall flu-like activity is lower than a week ago but is still elevated.
“The percent of deaths associated with pneumonia and influenza is above the epidemic threshold,” the agency said Friday.
“The increase is due to an increase in pneumonia deaths rather than influenza deaths and likely reflects COVID-19 activity.”
The severity of this season’s flu viruses remains moderate to low overall.
The CDC estimates that so far there have been at least 24,000 deaths from flu, 39 million flu illnesses and 410,000 hospitalizations.
Hospitalization rates differ by age group, with high rates among children and young adults.
A total of 166 influenza-associated deaths in children have been reported this season. That’s an increase of 4 since last week’s report.
“This number is high compared to recent seasons but remains lower than the 2017-2018 season during which 188 pediatric deaths were reported," the CDC said.
Flu activity was high in the District of Columbia and 19 states.
It was moderate in Alabama, Mississippi, New Mexico, and Washington.
It was low in California, Kentucky, Maine, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Texas, Utah, and West Virginia.
Only minimal amounts of flu were reported in Puerto Rico, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, South Dakota, and Wyoming.
Flu shots are recommended for everyone 6 months of age and older.