On paper, at this time of year, we expect to see incidence of seasonal influenza declining steadily from its December–February peak in the United States. Instead, however, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that flu activity is actually increasing across most of the country. This reverses a decline from mid-December through January. As recently as March 12 of this year, nearly 7% of all respiratory specimens tested at clinical labs turned up positive for flu. More than 2,000 people in the U.S. were hospitalized that week, with three pediatric deaths reported. The bottom line for urgent care providers is that it is still advisable for unvaccinated patients to get flu shots, especially with COVID-19 continuing to cycle back and forth between lower and higher transmission rates.
The Calendar Says Peak Flu Season Is Over. The Data Say Otherwise