Flu has already sickened more than 6 million this season

Flu has sickened 6 million to 7 million people in the U.S. during the 2018-19 season, and 69,000 to 84,000 people have been hospitalized by the bug, according to CDC estimates released Jan. 11.

Four things to know:

1. For the first time during the flu season, CDC officials are providing estimates of how many people have gotten sick, sought medical care or been hospitalized to highlight the risks of flu complications and encourage people to get vaccinated.

Previously, the CDC provided these estimates at the end of flu season. The estimates are based on data from Oct. 1, 2018, through Jan. 5, 2019 and were released with the CDC's weekly FluView report.

2. The CDC estimated there have been about 2.9 million to 3.5 million flu-related medical visits this season. These preliminary figures do not include estimates of flu-related deaths, which officials will provide when there is enough data to support a more precise estimate.

3. Three pediatric flu deaths were reported to CDC for the week ending Jan. 5, and 16 pediatric flu deaths have been reported during the 2018-19 season.

4. Thirty states reported widespread flu activity for the week ending Jan. 5. Seventeen states reported regional flu activity; two states reported local flu activity; and one state reported sporadic activity.

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