Sixteen more Californians deaths from the flu were confirmed in the first week of the New Year as influenza grips the nation.
The spike in flu outbreaks that ended the decade continued to ramp up in 2020 in California and around the nation. So far this flu season, California health officials have identified 19 outbreaks since the start of the flu season on Sept. 29. Through Jan. 4, 70 people have died from the flu statewide, according to state officials.
“Nationally, influenza activity is increasing. All regions of the country are experiencing elevated levels of influenza-like illness. It is too soon to say how severe this season might be,” a spokesman for the California Department of Public Health told Patch. “Influenza activity began increasing in early November in California, which was a few weeks earlier than other recent seasons. Influenza activity in California continues to increase. Since influenza is unpredictable, we do not know how long the high level of activity will last and what the overall severity level of the season might ultimately be.” Health officials don’t know precisely how long this flu season will last, but it’s likely to continue for several more weeks, making it worthwhile for the unvaccinated to consider getting vaccinated before the flu season ends.
“Influenza can circulate into the spring,”according to the California Department of Public Health. “While every influenza season is different, influenza activity usually returns to baseline levels in April or May. Since influenza will likely be circulating for many more weeks, it is not too late to get vaccinated if you have not already received a flu shot this season.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday estimated that so far this season there have been at least 9.7 million flu illnesses, 87,000 hospitalizations and 4,800 deaths from flu. The vast majority of the fatalities nationwide and in California were among the elderly. Across the country 32 children have died from the flu this season. So far, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says most illnesses are the result of the influenza B/Victoria viruses, which the agency said varies by region and age group.
The latest data from the agency shows that the virus has been widespread or striking regionally in 45 states, including California. In every region of the state, flu activity is high, and outbreaks began ramping up in early December, according to the California Department of Public Health.
Written By: Tommy Lightfoot Garrett
Photographs are Courtesy: AP
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