As Mother Jones reports, the U.S. flu season has been declared an epidemic. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that 7.3% of deaths last week were caused by pneumonia and the flu. The map above, courtesy the C.D.C, shows the spread of flu-like symptoms.
To date, 20 children have died from this season’s flu, up two from the previous week, the CDC said. By comparison, 34 died during the entire 2011-2012 flu season and 282 during the severe 2009-2010 season. Tens of thousands of Americans die from the flu every year, but the threshold for an epidemic is that it cause more than 7.2% of deaths.
Nine of the 10 regions of the U.S. had “elevated” flu activity last week, though the C.D.C. reports the levels may have peaked. However, the C.D.C. continued to urge people to get flu shots. This year’s vaccine has been rated 62% effective, which is considered “moderately” effective.