Flu season continues, and providers in several US markets are seeing surges in respiratory-virus-related visits. Meanwhile, new data also shows a year-over-year increase in antiviral prescriptions to treat influenza, according to a news report in Fierce Healthcare, leveraging data from Evernorth Research Institute (a Cigna subsidiary). Analyzing pharmacy claims for 32 million people, researchers noted an uptick in antiviral prescriptions in the weeks following Thanksgiving 2023 when compared to a similar time period during past flu seasons. More severe flu cases prompted more visits, especially among the unvaccinated.
And here’s the prevalence of flu: Influenza has caused about 10 million cases of illness as well as 110,000 hospitalizations, and a staggering 6,500 deaths since August 1, 2023, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The burden of flu in the United States can vary widely from year to year. As of January 19, 2024, the trend in outpatient visits to healthcare providers for respiratory illnesses overall is down 4.9% compared to the week prior.