Thirty-five states and regions are reporting either "high" or "very high" activity of influenza-like illnesses (ILI), according to CDC's Weekly U.S. Influenza Surveillance Report, as flu cases continue to surge throughout the country.
Flu cases surge throughout US
In addition to the 35 states and regions reporting "high" or "very high" ILI activity for the week ending in Nov. 19, seven are reporting "moderate" activity and the remaining states and regions are reporting either "low" or "minimal" activity.
For the week ending in Nov. 19, 11,269 lab-confirmed flu patients were hospitalized, and the percentage of outpatient provider visits for an ILI was 6%–above the national baseline of 2.5%.
So far this season, CDC estimates there have been at least 6.2 million flu cases, three million flu medical visits, 53,000 flu hospitalizations, and 2,900 flu deaths.
Five pediatric flu deaths occurred during the week ending in Nov. 19, bringing the total number of pediatric flu deaths for the 2022-23 season up to 12.
Flu cases likely to continue to rise
With the holiday season beginning and large families gathering, experts say flu cases are expected to continue rising.
"We are likely to see an increase in the upcoming weeks," said Lynette Brammer, an epidemiologist and lead of CDC's domestic influenza surveillance team. She added that "[i]t's a pretty safe bet that flu activity is going to continue on for several more weeks or months."
And while flu cases continue to rise, Ashish Jha, coordinator for the White House Covid-19 Task Force, noted that Covid-19 cases and cases of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) are also high.
"We are dealing with three very contagious respiratory viruses," Jha said. "Our expectation is we are likely to see an increase in the upcoming weeks," especially with flu and Covid-19 cases.
However, Jha said RSV cases may have already peaked. "Nationally, the numbers do seem to be turning down," he said. "We'll want to see over the next couple of weeks where that goes. But the preliminary evidence right now is pretty hopeful." (Edwards, NBC News, 11/28; CDC Weekly U.S. Influenza Surveillance Report, 11/28; CDC 2022-2023 Preliminary In-Season Burden Estimate, accessed 11/29)