Predictions of a harsher influenza season than usual are coming true, as the rate of influenza-related hospitalizations as of December 20 was more than double that a year ago, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported last week.

Influenza officially qualified as an epidemic on the week ending December 20, week 51 of 2014, because the proportion of deaths attributed to pneumonia and influenza increased to the epidemic threshold of 6.8%, according to the CDC’s weekly FluView update.