Flu activity remains high as descent begins: 5 notes

The nation's worst flu outbreak in more than a decade is slowing down, though flu activity remains high overall, according to the CDC's latest FluView report

"It looks like for this first wave of activity, maybe we've seen the worst of that," Lynnette Brammer, head of the CDC's domestic influenza surveillance team, told ABC News. 

New flu admissions reported to HHS fell for the second week in a row, and the national rate of positive tests has hovered around 25 percent for four weeks. The percentage of outpatient visits for flu-like illness has also fallen for several consecutive weeks, with 6.3 percent of outpatient provider visits for flu-like symptoms for the week ending Dec. 10. 

Still, the cumulative flu hospitalization rate (39.9 per 100,000) is at a decade high, and it's unclear whether flu may surge again in the aftermath of holiday gatherings. 

Four other flu updates: 

1. Seventeen influenza-associated pediatric deaths were reported in the week ending on Dec. 17, with a total of 47 pediatric flu deaths in the 2022-23 season. 

2. The CDC estimates there have been at least 18 million flu cases, 190,000 hospitalizations and 12,000 deaths so far this season. 

3. Forty-eight states and regions reported high or very high flu activity levels for the week ending Dec. 17. Overall, activity is declining in most parts of the country. 

4. The national flu, pneumonia and/or COVID-19 mortality rate is 12 percent, which sits above the epidemic threshold of 6.5 percent for the week. Among the 3,026 deaths reported for the week, 1,232 had COVID-19 and 408 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.

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