70% of US reports high or very high flu activity: 8 FluView notes

Thirty-five states and regions are now reporting "high" or "very high" flu activity levels, according to the CDC's latest FluView report.

The following states and regions reported very high flu activity for the week ending Nov. 18: Texas, New Mexico, Tennessee, Mississippi, California, Washington, Colorado, Arkansas, South Carolina, Kentucky, Virginia, Nebraska, Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York City and the District of Columbia.

Seventeen states reported high flu activity: Idaho, Louisiana, Kansas, Oklahoma, Illinois, Florida, Indiana, Ohio, New York, Maryland, Nevada, Oregon, Missouri, Utah, Minnesota, West Virginia and Connecticut. 

The remaining states reported moderate, minimal or low flu activity. 

Seven more notes: 

1. Five flu-associated pediatric deaths were reported to the CDC for the week ending Nov. 18. This brings the total number of influenza-associated pediatric deaths to 12 for the 2022-23 season.

2. The overall cumulative hospitalization rate is 11.3 per 100,000 — the highest it's been this early in the season since the 2010-11 flu season. 

3. Clinical laboratories tested 119,615 specimens for influenza for the week ending Nov. 18. Of those, 18.2 percent were positive, most of which for influenza A. The positivity rate was 14.7 percent the previous week.

4. The percentage of visits to an outpatient provider for influenza-like illness — meaning fever plus cough or sore throat, not lab-confirmed flu — was 6 percent for the week ending Nov. 18. This is above the national baseline of 2.5 percent.

5. Nationwide, 1.6 percent of 14,291 long-term care facilities reported at least one flu-positive test among residents for the week ending Nov.18.

6. The national flu, pneumonia and/or COVID-19 mortality rate is 9.4 percent, which sits above the epidemic threshold of 6.3 percent for the week. Among the 1,861 deaths reported for the week, 807 had COVID-19 and 66 had the flu listed as an underlying or contributing cause of death. "While current [flu, pneumonia and/or COVID-19] mortality is due primarily to COVID-19, the proportion due to influenza remains small but is increasing," the CDC said.

7. There have been at least 6.2 million flu illnesses, 53,000 hospitalizations and 2,900 flu-related deaths so far this season, the CDC estimates. That's up from the estimated 4.4 million cases, 38,000 hospitalizations and 2,100 deaths estimated in the last report. 

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