A weekly report released Friday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention adds numbers to previous predictions of a troubling flu season.
The number of hospitalizations reported by Oct. 29 has surpassed every recent year during the same week going back as far as the 2010-2011 season. While not a direct case count, the number of people hospitalized with a virus such as influenza or COVID-19 reflects the health care burden of a disease and shows how many people are being harmed.
Experts have warned, though, that this season could produce more flu illnesses, based on how bad it was in Australia -- a country where flu viruses tend to develop first during the opposite winter season before migrating to the Northern Hemisphere .
"It's hard to anticipate what trends we will see with each flu season, but we usually look to the Southern Hemisphere for clues," said Dr. Brittany Mueller, an internal medicine physician at Atlantic Medical Group Primary Care.