Flu has sickened 38 million, CDC says

The CDC estimates flu has caused 38 million illnesses, 390,000 hospitalizations and 23,000 deaths this season, according to the agency's most recent FluView report.

Six things to know:

1. The percentage of respiratory specimens that tested positive for flu continued to decrease in the week ending March 14. 

2. However, flu-like activity increased for the second week in a row after three weeks of decline. The CDC noted more Americans than normal may be seeking care for respiratory illness due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

3. While the national flu and pneumonia mortality rate remained at 7.1 percent, the CDC confirmed five additional pediatric flu deaths in the week ending March 14. This brings the total to 149 for the 2019-20 flu season.

4. Thirty-seven states experienced high flu-like illness activity, four states experienced moderate activity and five states had low activity. Arizona, Florida, New Hampshire and Wyoming reported minimal activity.

5. The overall flu hospitalization rate increased to 65.1 per 100,000 population for the week ending March 14. 

6. Flu activity was widespread in every state but Hawaii, Minnesota and Wyoming.

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