The CDC rolled out a mix of good news/bad news on this year's flu outbreak today:
- The bad: The number of states reporting widespread activity rose from 41 to 47 over the week. The far West (Arizona, California, Nevada, Guam, and Hawaii) has largely escaped the brunt of it so far, reports NBC News.
- The good: The number of states reporting high levels of the illness fell from 29 to 24, suggesting that it's on the wane in some areas. (Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, Arkansas, and Kentucky saw the decreases.)
- Deaths: So far, 20 victims under the age of 18 have died, reports CNN. More than 3,700 people, most of them elderly, have been hospitalized.
- Shots: This year's vaccine appears to be about 62% effective, a decent mark.
- Severe year? It may seem that way, explains AP, because this year's flu started early and is unusually rough on those who get it. Plus, last year was a mild one for comparison's sake. But we probably won't know until spring how this year's sickness stacks up.
- "Bottom line: It's flu season," says the CDC chief. Flu activity is up in most of the country, and "it may be decreasing in some areas, but that's hard to predict," he says. "Influenza activity ebbs and flows."