US weekly flu hospitalisations hit record high since 2010

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Five flu-associated paediatric deaths were reported in the week ending November 19, which increased the overall number to 12..reports Asian Lite News

Over 11,200 patients in the US were hospitalized with flu, the highest since 2010, according to data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Seasonal influenza activity is elevated across the country, Xinhua news agency quoted the CDC as saying on Monday.

Five flu-associated paediatric deaths were reported in the week ending November 19, which increased the overall number to 12, according to the CDC.

The CDC estimates that so far this season there have been at least 6.2 million flu illnesses, 53,000 hospitalisations and 2,900 deaths from flu.

Of influenza A viruses detected and subtyped this season, 78 per cent have been influenza A (H3N2) and 22 per cent have been influenza A (H1N1), according to the CDC.

Thanksgiving holiday gatherings have amped up the spread of viruses such as flu, coronavirus and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). RSV and flu are both at high levels for this time of year.

“We have seen, in some regions, RSV numbers starting to trend downward. Flu numbers are still on the rise. And we are concerned that after holiday gathering, lots of people coming together, that we may see increases in Covid-19 cases as well,” said CDC Director Rochelle Walensky.

Top infectious diseases expert Anthony S. Fauci warned RSV could become public health emergency in the US.

“It is if in fact, which in some regions of the country, we’re seeing that the hospital system for paediatrics are at the point of almost being overwhelmed,” Fauci told CBS News on Sunday.

The CDC said an annual flu vaccine is the best way to protect against flu. Vaccination helps prevent infection and can also prevent serious outcomes. The CDC recommends that everyone ages 6 months and older get a flu vaccine annually.

For a half-century, scientists have been trying to develop a vaccine that would protect against the most dangerous flu viruses.

Medical workers work at a drive-through COVID-19 testing site in Dallas, Texas, the United States, March 21, 2020. (Photo by Dan Tian/Xinhua/IANS)

New subvariants account for over half of new Covid cases  

New Omicron subvariants, BQ.1 and BQ.1.1, have accounted for over half of the new Covid-19 cases in the US, according to the latest estimates of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

BQ.1.1 made up about 29.4 per cent of circulating variants in the week ending November 26, and BQ.1 was estimated to make up 27.9 per cent, Xinhua news agency reported citing the CDC data released on Monday.

The two variants are descendants of Omicron’s BA.5 subvariant. They have replaced BA. 5 to be the dominant strains in the US, said the CDC.

The BA.5 accounted for 19.4 per cent of new infections in the latest week, the data showed.

The CDC is also tracking another new Covid-19 variant of concern known as XBB, which has grown to make up an estimated 3.1 per cent of new infections nationwide.

XBB is behind a vast swath of infections across some South Asian countries and has made up an increasing share of reported virus sequences from around the world and in arriving international travellers.

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