Flu season raged over Thanksgiving

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Editor’s Note: View cold and flu activity in your location with the WebMD tracker.

December 2, 2022 — The flu virus has made the most of the Thanksgiving holiday by reaching the highest level of national activity since the 2017-18 flu season, according to the CDC.

The largest one-week spike in an unprecedented flu season had 7.5% flu-like activity for the week of November 20-26, as measured by the proportion of outpatient visits reported to the CDC that involved respiratory illness that may also include respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and COVID-19.

That 7.5% is the highest level of flu-like activity recorded in the United States since early February 2018, at the peak of the 2017-18 flu season, and the highest rate recorded in November since the CDC 1997 started collecting such data. Flu-like activity peaked at 7.7% in October 2009, but then fell below 7% in the first week of November and didn’t pick up again for the rest of that season, CDC data showss.

There are more signs of a worse flu or flu-like season this year. 2011, the CDC said.

The high rate of hospital admissions from Nov. 20-26 is nearly double the previous week’s rate, the CDC noted in its weekly Fluview report.

So far this season, there have been “at least 8.7 million cases, 78,000 hospitalizations and 4,500 deaths from flu,” according to CDC estimates. In 2018-19, the last full flu season before COVID, there were 148 deaths in the first 8 weeks, according to CDC data.

State and territory-level flu-like activity, which the CDC categorizes on a scale of 1 to 13 — from minimal (1 to 3) to very high (11 to 13) — puts 31 states at very high for the week, compared to 19 in the week before. Only New Hampshire and the Northern Mariana Islands are in the minimum range, according to the CDC.

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Flu season raged over Thanksgiving
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