As influenza cases edge higher this week, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 5.9% of people with lab-confirmed influenza this season had concurrent flu-COVID infections.
The CDC says that laboratory testing has confirmed 491 cases of concurrent flu-COVID infections. The report gave no further details on outcomes of those with concurrent flu-COVID infections.
Despite a mostly quiet flu season, the weekly CDC FluView report says that flu cases have begun trending upward in most of the country with the largest increases being reported in the central and south-central parts of the United States.
The report advises that it is not too late to get the flu vaccine. Data from the most recent week shows a 5.8% flu positivity rate for all samples tested in laboratories, which is up from the season’s average of 2.8%. CDC estimates that, so far this season, there have been at least 2.7 million flu illnesses, 26,000 hospitalizations, and 1,500 deaths attributed to influenza.
“An annual flu vaccine is the best way to protect against flu. Vaccination can prevent serious outcomes in people who get vaccinated but still get sick. CDC continues to recommend that everyone ages 6 months and older get a flu vaccine as long as flu activity continues,” says the recent report.
Some epidemiologists and other public health experts have warned that due to changes in behavior brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, we could see a shift in the usual timetable of influenza season and the possibility of a late surge in flu cases.