Monday, February 3, 2020

3 new cases of coronavirus confirmed in Northern California; U.S. cases jump to 11 - HOWEVER: 4,800 people had died and 87,000 people had been hospitalized from the 'regular' flu

Full season is in full swing, with nearly every state reporting high influenza activity and 14 more children dying this week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported.

So far this flu season, 68 children have died, according to CDC estimates released Friday.

While hospitalizations aren't high for this point in the season, children are particularly vulnerable to the virus and its complications.

During recent flu seasons, deaths among children have ranged from 37 to 187.

This year's flu shot isn't an exact match for the strain that's been circulating most widely, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't get it, health experts said.

"The influenza vaccine protects against various strains, three or four, depending on which vaccine you receive," said Dr. William Schaffner, medical director for the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases.

Early 2019 to 2020 flu activity primarily was driven by influenza B/Victoria viruses, for which the vaccine is not a great match. Now, that flu activity is changing, "an increase in A/H1N1," Schaffner said.

"It looks like we’re having a second wave," he added. "The vaccine is exactly on target against this strain."