Promising Trends in Flu and COVID-19 Amid Ongoing Challenges

13.01.2024 posted by Admin

Positive Shift in Flu and COVID-19 Trends Amid Challenges

Indicators reflecting the activity of the seasonal flu showed a decrease in the initial week of the year, suggesting a potential relief from the prevalent transmission of respiratory viruses this season. However, this decline might only be momentary.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) unveiled its most recent flu data for the week concluding on January 6. Outpatient visits related to influenza-like illnesses witnessed a decrease during that week, marking the first drop after weeks of swift escalation. Similarly, flu test positivity and hospitalizations exhibited a minor decline.

Despite these improvements, transmission rates remain high nationwide. The current data reveals that fourteen states have very high ILI activity, a decrease from twenty-two the previous week. Meanwhile, twenty-three states are experiencing high activity, an increase from nineteen in the preceding week. (For a detailed week-by-week analysis of this year's US flu season, refer to this link.)

The CDC is vigilant about the possibility of a second surge in influenza activity following the winter holidays.

Notably, it's not just the flu showing signs of abating in the data; COVID-19 statistics are also displaying some decreases. The CDC reports that while test positivity, emergency department visits, and hospitalizations persist at elevated levels nationwide, rates have either stabilized or decreased after several weeks of continuous increase.

The CDC suggests that certain declines in indicators could be attributed to individuals avoiding seeking medical care during the holiday period. Although COVID-19 wastewater activity remains very high, with all regions indicating high or increasing levels, there are early signs of slowdowns in the Midwest and Northeast.

Concurrently, RSV activity remains heightened, although certain regions are beginning to observe declines.

The CDC emphasizes that it's not too late to get vaccinated against COVID-19, flu, and RSV (for individuals aged 60 and above). Currently, 21 percent of adults have received the 2023–2024 COVID-19 vaccine, with 41.5 percent of individuals aged 65 and above. Since September, approximately 363,000 people have succumbed to COVID-19 in the US.

Regarding the flu, around 47 percent of adults have received their annual shot, including 74 percent of those aged 65 and above. A recent study in Canada reported that the current annual flu shots are 61 percent effective against the predominant flu strain in the US (influenza A(H1N1)pdm09), 49 percent effective against the less common influenza A(H3N2), and 75 percent effective against influenza B.

The CDC estimates that there have been at least 14 million flu cases, 150,000 hospitalizations, and 9,400 deaths from the flu so far this season. In the initial week of this year, thirteen children succumbed to the flu, bringing the total for this season to 40.
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