|ABC World News Tonight (3/2) reported the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently released data showing that nationally, 17 more children have died due to flu-related illnesses this season, bringing the total to 114. ABC added, “More than the past two years, and we’re still in this.” The CBS Evening News (3/2) reported that by comparison, there were 40 pediatric deaths “at this time last year.” So far, the flu is still “widespread in 45 states, down from 48 last week.” According to the CBS Weekend News (3/3), “The CDC says the worst of the flu season is finally behind us.” Similarly, NBC Nightly News (3/2) reported the CDC said the season has “definitely peaked” but nevertheless “warns it is still widespread in 45 states.”
The Washington Post (3/2) reported that although the season has peaked, “increasing numbers of people are being infected by a secondary strain of the respiratory virus that could lead to a late-season bump,” federal officials announced Friday. They predicted the flu season could continue until mid-April. The Post said “the intensity of illness has made it the worst since the swine flu pandemic of 2009-2010.” CDC spokeswoman Kristen Nordlund explained, “Today’s flu data show activity is down significantly for the second consecutive week, which means we peaked in early February. … However…there is still a lot of flu out there.”
USA Today (3/2) reported CDC data show physician visits for the flu comprised five percent of outpatient visits, “down from 6.4% the week before” and down from 7.7 percent several weeks ago – “the highest since the swine flu pandemic of 2009.” The CDC said this year’s flu vaccines were about 36 percent effective overall and 59 percent effective in children.