Flu, pneumonia, COVID-19 deaths drop & other CDC updates

Deaths attributed to pneumonia, influenza or COVID-19 dropped by about 6 percentage points for the week ending May 16 compared to the week prior, but were still high compared to previous flu seasons, according to the CDC's weekly COVIDView report.

Four things to know:

1. The percentage of respiratory specimens testing positive for the new coronavirus decreased at public, commercial and clinical laboratories for the week ending May 16. Public labs reported the biggest drop — from 10.7 percent during the week ending May 9 to 8.5 percent during the week ending May 16.

2. About 12 percent of deaths across the country were attributed to pneumonia, flu or COVID-19 in the week ending May 16, down from 18.5 percent the week before. The percentage remains high compared with any flu season before the pandemic and may change as additional death certificates are processed, the CDC said.

3. The cumulative COVID-19-associated hospitalization rate for all age groups is 67.9 hospitalizations per 100,000 population, with the highest rates in people ages 65 years and older (214.4 hospitalizations per 100,000 population).

4. Visits to outpatient providers and emergency departments for symptoms linked to COVID-19 continue to decline, and outpatient visit for flu-like illness was 1.1 percent the week ending May 16, below the national baseline of 2.4 percent.

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