Flu activity 66% lower than 2022, Walgreens data shows

As of Oct. 19, flu activity in the U.S. is down 66 percent compared to last year, marking a more gradual start to flu season that is closer to the pre-pandemic norm, according to new data from Walgreens' Flu Index.

Despite a slower start to the season, flu activity is still 34 percent higher than during the 2018-19 season, before COVID-19 hit. Flu activity has increased 13% over the past week and, on average, 14% a week over the past month, suggesting the potential for one or more virus peaks later in the winter. 

"While it's early days and flu season is always unpredictable, our historical data suggest this could be a return to a typical two-wave flu season where activity starts to peak in December and reaches its highest point in February, rather than the single peak we saw last year, which was earlier but lower than the norm," Kevin Ban, MD, chief medical officer of Walgreens, said in an Oct. 19 news release

The national flu positivity rate was 26.2 percent as of Oct. 15, down from 35.5 percent in mid-September. However, 21 states are reporting positivity rates above the national average. 

The 10 states or territories with the highest flu activity as of Oct. 19 were:

1. Puerto Rico
2. Hawaii
3. Louisiana
4. Arkansas
5. Texas
6. Mississippi
7. Florida
8. Nevada
9. Alabama
10. Tennessee

Learn more here.


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