As flu hospitalizations rise in the United States, the Southeast is hardest hit

Enbal Sabag, a nurse practitioner, prepares a flu vaccination for a patient at CVS Pharmacy and MinuteClinic on September 03, 2020 in Key Biscayne, Florida.

Joe Raedle | Getty Images

Flu hospitalizations have reached a decade high in the United States, with the Southeast being the toughest region right now.

Five out of every 100,000 people in the United States were hospitalized with the flu in the week ending November 5, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This is the highest hospitalization rate this early in the flu season since 2010, more than 10 years ago.

But the percentage of patients reporting flu-like symptoms, a fever of 100 degrees or higher plus a sore throat or cough, is highest in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, North Carolina. South, Tennessee, Virginia and Washington DC, according to CDC data.

Flu activity is also very high in Arkansas, Louisiana, Maryland, New Mexico, New Jersey, New York City and Texas, according to the CDC.

More than 6,400 people were admitted to hospital with the flu in the week ending November 5, according to data from the Department of Health and Human Services. About 54% of these patients were hospitalized in the southeastern and south-central part of the United States

Just over 2,000 people have been hospitalized with the flu in the region that includes Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. More than 1,400 have been admitted to hospital in Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.

In the Southeast, the influenza A H3N2 strain appears to be the most common right now, according to Dr. Jose Romero, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. This strain is associated with more severe disease in the elderly and young children, Romero said.

“There are also early signs of influenza causing severe illness in precisely these two groups of individuals this season,” Romero told reporters on a call earlier this month.

Nearly 11 in 100,000 older people were hospitalized with the flu in the week ending Nov. 5, while about 10 in 100,000 children under the age of 5 were admitted to hospital, the data shows. from the CDC. The hospitalization rate for these age groups is about double the national rate.

So far this season, at least 2.8 million people have fallen ill with the flu, 23,000 have been hospitalized and 1,300 people have died from the virus, according to the CDC.

Why Everyone Seems to Get Sick

Hospitals across the United States are beset by a surge of patients, especially children, with the flu or respiratory syncytial virus. Romero said these viruses are likely increasing because immunity has waned as pandemic-era public health measures have crushed the transmission of these viruses. As a result, May children are infected for the first time.

Public health officials also expect another wave of Covid infection this winter. The CDC, the Food and Drug Administration and the White House have called on everyone who is eligible to get a flu shot and a Covid booster before the holidays.

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