Flu cases surge across US, CDC reports

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said flu cases remain "elevated" throughout the country, according to its latest weekly report. 

The agency said cases ticked up 16.2% compared to last week. 

Eight children have died this past week, and 65 children have died so far this flu season. 

In all, the CDC estimated there have been at least 20 million illnesses, 230,000 hospitalizations, and 14,000 deaths from flu so far this season.

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Doctors urge everyone 6 months and older to get an annual flu vaccine. 

Tracking during flu season relies in part on reports of people with flu-like symptoms who go to doctor’s offices or hospitals; many people with the flu are not tested, so their infections aren’t lab-confirmed. COVID-19 and other respiratory viruses can sometimes muddy the picture.

Alicia Budd, who leads the CDC’s flu surveillance team, said several indicators are showing "continued increases" in flu.

There are different kinds of flu viruses, and the version that’s been spreading the most so far this year usually leads to a lesser amount of hospitalizations and deaths in the elderly — the group on whom flu tends to take the largest toll.

Flu vaccination rates are better than rates for the other two main respiratory viruses — COVID-19 and RSV. About 14% of adults and 5% of children have gotten the currently recommended COVID-19 shot, and about 13.5% of adults 60 and older have gotten one of the RSV shots that became available earlier this year.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. This story was reported from Los Angeles.