The Midwest and Northeast of the United States have been hit the hardest by COVID-19, with respiratory illness activity markers increasing across the nation last week. According to recent data, hospitalizations for COVID-19 have risen by 16.7% compared to the previous week, and deaths have also increased by 10%. This alarming trend has led to several counties in these regions being listed as high-risk areas.
COVID-19 was responsible for 3.3% of all deaths last week, with higher levels reported in the Midwest and parts of the Northeast. Emergency department visits related to COVID-19 also saw a significant increase of 12% compared to the previous week. Additionally, the test positivity rates for COVID-19 rose from 0.7% to 12.7% nationally, with higher rates observed in the Midwest and Northeast.
Wastewater tracking data indicates that the Midwest and Northeast have the highest levels of the virus, approaching the levels seen last year. This serves as a concerning sign for health officials trying to contain the spread of the virus.
On the other hand, the Southeast and New Mexico are currently experiencing the highest levels of flu activity. Test positivity for flu at clinical labs is above 20% in four regions, indicating a serious flu outbreak in these areas.
Outpatient visits for flu-like illness have risen to 6.1%, consistently staying above the national baseline for the past eight weeks. Children aged four and below seem to be the most affected, followed by young people aged five to 24.
Flu hospitalizations also continue to rise, with approximately 14,700 people admitted to the hospital for flu last week. Seniors are the age group most affected by this trend.
The current flu season has seen a total of 20 pediatric flu deaths, with seven additional reported last week. The dominant flu strain remains 2009 H1N1.
Overall, flu accounted for 0.5% of all deaths in the nation last week, a slight increase from the previous week’s figure of 0.3%. This serves as a reminder of the importance of taking precautions against both COVID-19 and the flu to protect public health.