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    Flu worsens and it’s still bad almost everywhere

    The flu season is getting worse, with the highest number of hospitalizations seen in eight years, federal health officials said .
    Sixteen more children were reported to have died from influenza, bringing the total to 53 for the flu season, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported. 
    “Latest tracking data indicates that flu activity is still high and widespread across most of the nation and increasing overall,” CDC acting director Dr. Anne Schuchat told reporters.
    “We are also continuing to hear reports of crowded hospitals and continued shortages of anti-influenza medications.”
    CDC officials have been describing this year’s flu season as a tough one — almost the entire United States has been hit with widespread flu activity at the same time.
    “This is an unusual pattern for the U.S.,” the CDC’s Dr. Daniel Jernigan said.
    “For the prior three weeks, we have had 49 states with widespread activity, which is something we haven’t seen since collecting this data.”
    Oregon is seeing a little less activity, bringing the total to 48 states with widespread infection, down from 49 the prior week. CDC officials said they hoped that meant the epidemic may finally be waning, at least in the west.
    Flu causes an epidemic every year. Flu kills between 12,000 to 56,000 Americans every year, depending on how rough the season is, and it puts 140,000 to 710,000 people into the hospital.
    The last time flu put 710,000 people into the hospital was the 2014-2015 flu season. This season may be on track to have even more flu hospitalizations, although the full count won’t be in for weeks yet.

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