Twenty children under the age of 18 have died from the current flu outbreak, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Friday.
There is no running tally of adult deaths, but the CDC estimates that the flu kills about 24,000 people in an average year.
While those statistics are alarming – staggeringly tragic for the families affected – the CDC's flu advisory report for December 30 through January 5 suggest that it's a little too early to tell how bad this year's flu is. The spread of the disease appears to have slowed in some areas, but officials won't know for weeks whether the cases have peaked.
While the disease is increasingly widespread across the country – look no further than the of empty chairs in your own office for proof – the number of hardest hit states has declined. Flu levels dropped most in notably in Southeastern states, including Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, Arkansas and Kentucky.
In the Northeast, levels in some states have also improved, such as New York, but New York City remains among the areas of high activity.
Still, if Google searches are any indication, this year's flu is a doozy. Searches around flu have spiked to the highest point ever since Google started tracking data.
The CDC also said Friday that the flu was widespread in 47 states last week, up from 41 the week before. But many cases have turned out to be milder than initially forecast.
The least-hard hit states are California, Mississippi and Hawaii.
How is the flu where you are? Have you vaccinated your child yet? Let us know your take on this year's flu. Stay healthy out there and read up on ways to keep your family safe from the flu this season.
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