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This Flu Season Won't Be Fun

The CDC says 6.5 million are already sick
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 4, 2020 12:00 PM CST
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(Newser) – Know someone with a nasty flu? It's getting around, and could get a lot worse—even as bad as the 2017-2018 season, CNN reports. "The initial indicators indicate this is not going to be a good season—this is going to be a bad season," says Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases. So far, 2,900 people are estimated dead from the flu in America, with 6.4 million ill and 55,000 hospitalized, the CDC said Friday. There have also been 27 pediatric deaths, the highest since the CDC began tracking flu deaths 17 years ago.

It's particularly bad for kids because they're susceptible to influenza B, which is strong this season. For more bad news, this year's vaccine doesn't fully cover influenza B (just 58% of strains) or influenza A (34% of strains), Healthline reports: "Ideally, this number should be as high as possible, but often with influenza the virus may genetically drift away from an exact match with the virus," says an infectious disease physician at Johns Hopkins University. But the CDC still advises anyone over 6 months to get a flu shot, which Healthline says will lower the severity and length of symptoms. (Read more flu stories.)

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