Seasonal flu activity continues to decline across much of the country, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Most states were experiencing “minimal” or “low” flu activity in the past week, according to the latest data published by the CDC on Friday. Only New Mexico and Oklahoma saw “high” or “very high” levels of influenza.
The number and weekly rate of flu hospital admissions decreased compared to the previous week, the CDC said. Hospitals reported 2,671 influenza hospitalizations to the Department of Health and Human Services during the week ending Jan. 28, compared to 4,028 reported the week prior.
Only 2 percent of cases tested by clinical labs were positive, according to the CDC, and 2.6 percent of everyone who visited a health care provider last week had respiratory virus symptoms, including fever plus a cough or sore throat.
This has remained stable compared to what was reported last week, and remains just above the national baseline of 2.5 percent.
The weeks immediately after the holidays saw a high level of activity, as both flu and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) hit much earlier than in years past. But the continued downward trend shows the season appears to have peaked for now, and the “tripledemic” of COVID-19, flu and RSV was not as bad as many feared.
This week, the percentage of hospital visits for respiratory illness decreased in the 50-64 year age range, as well as among people 65 and older. The numbers remained stable for all other age groups CDC tracks.
The vaccination rate for adults through the end of January is just under 46 percent, but still higher than this point last season. Children between the ages of 6 months and 4 years are the highest vaccinated group at about 61 percent, but all age groups are either at the same rate or higher compared to last year.
Six influenza-associated pediatric deaths were reported this week, for a total of 97 pediatric flu deaths reported so far this season. There have been at least 25 million illnesses, 280,000 hospitalizations and 17,000 deaths from flu so far this season.
For comparison, an average of more than 3,000 people still die every week from COVID-19.