United States' top infectious disease doctor considered the current flu season as one of the most severe in decades.
With the commencement of the new year, we hope and wish that all our loved ones remain healthy. But as we descend into 2020, we have to be mindful of many illnesses (which are at its peak during a particular period of time every year) that could possibly plague our lives. Among several deadly diseases, flu seems to be have made it to the top of this year's list with United States' top infectious disease doctor calling the ongoing flu season as one of the worst in decades, reports CNN.
Although predicting the precise extent this year's flu will have on the nation's residents is impossible, the director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases, Dr. Anthony Fauci, revealed that the illness is set to be as severe as the 2017-2018 flu season. Unfortunately, this phase was considered one of the deadliest flu seasons in more than four decades, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Explaining this foresight, Fauci said, "The initial indicators indicate this is not going to be a good season -- this is going to be a bad season."
According to CDC's recently released data on Friday, an estimated number of at least 2,900 people in the United States have passed away due to flu. This number of deaths has surpassed the estimation of the previous week by 800. Ever since the season began in October, there has been a sharp hike in flu cases and hospitalizations which simply keeps on increasing. Now, the CDC has approximated at least 6.4 million flu illnesses and 55,000 hospitalizations since then. However, Fauci did provide some hope after explaining that this steep rise in flu-related cases could reverse its course of action soon, which in turn would stop this year from becoming so severe.
While it's impossible to predict how things will go, this flu season so far is on track to be as severe as the 2017-2018 flu season, the US' top infectious disease doctor says. That season was the deadliest in more than four decades, according to the CDC. https://t.co/2Xfw2NULQ6— CNN (@CNN) January 3, 2020
"Hopefully this turns around and comes down, but if it continues on the trajectory it's on, it's not going to be good," he explained. In order to demonstrate the severity of the situation, Fauci turned to a CDC graph to compare the ongoing flu season with two of the most severe ones that have occurred in recent decades. In this representation, different years are indicated using various colors but the ones that attract our attention are the ones representing 2017-2018 and 2019-2020. Now, the red line indicating the current season can be seen surpassing the pink (2014-2015) hike and reaching for the light blue lines which have been considered one of the worst periods in the recent decade.
"We don't want it to keep going up and up and up like in 2017-2018," added Fauci. "Hopefully it won't, but if it continues to go straight up, this could really be a bad year. The only thing predictable about flu is that it's unpredictable." According to a CNN report, children have mainly fallen prey to this season so far with 27 deaths reported through December 28. And this is the highest number of deaths recorded at this point in the season ever since the CDC began keeping track 17 years ago.
So, why has this year's flu affected children largely? This is because kids are particularly susceptible to influenza B which sadly is the dominant strain this season. As compared to Flu A, flu B doesn't change much from year to year and remains relatively stable and so many adults have immunity from the infection they might have contracted earlier in life. Just to be safe and reverse the worst possible outcome this season the CDC advises every person who is above the age of 6 months to get a flu shot.