The effects of the seasonal flu in the United States remain “lower than usual for this time of year,” with just 0.1% of nose and throat samples tested nationally coming back positive for the virus, according to data released Friday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Fewer than 2% of all healthcare visits across the country have been linked with flu-like symptoms or illness since the 2020-21 influenza season began two months ago, the agency said.
Just one state, Tennessee, reported “low” flu activity, or cases of the seasonal virus, while the rest reported minimal caseloads, the CDC said.
Only 136 people across the country have been hospitalized with the flu so far this winter. No flu-related deaths have been reported, the agency said.
By this time last winter, more than 15 million people in the United States had been sickened with the influenza virus, with 140,000 requiring hospitalization as a result, the CDC estimated.
Cases of the flu are so low this winter that the CDC hasn’t provided estimates.
The reduced impact of the flu is likely the result of steps taken to reduce the spread of COVID-19, including mask-wearing and social distancing, experts have said.