What HHS data shows about 'flurona' hospitalizations

The word "flurona" — used to describe flu and coronavirus co-infections — has recently made headlines as the omicron variant rapidly spreads nationwide, fueling a major COVID-19 surge in the middle of flu season.

Despite a heightened focus on the co-infections, first identified in the U.S. in 2020, few states have reported flurona hospitalizations to HHS. 

As of Jan. 6, the most recent data available, 12 states and Washington, D.C., reported no patients hospitalized with both flu and COVID-19. Hospitals in another 13 states reported having just one or two patients with co-infections, and 16 hospitals reported three to nine patients. Just nine states reported 10 or more patients hospitalized with co-infections, with Virginia topping the list at 20 hospitalizations. 

It's unclear whether the low numbers reflect a low incidence of flurona hospitalizations nationwide or a shortcoming in reporting. Some emerging studies suggest co-infections of flu and other pathogens, including the virus that causes COVID-19, may be more common than originally thought, according to The Atlantic.tic.

The rise of incidental hospitalizations amid the omicron surge has also complicated reporting for hospitals and clouded insights into national COVID-19 hospitalization trends. 


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