Dec. 10, 2009 - H1N1 swine flu killed 10,000 Americans, sent 213,000 to the
hospital, and sickened 50 million -- a sixth of the population -- by
mid-November, the CDC estimates.
The CDC's new estimates reflect a flood of new cases from mid-October to
mid-November, as the current wave of the U.S. flu pandemic was climbing to its
peak. The numbers represent the middle of a range of estimates made using
statistical calculations to correct for underreporting of cases,
hospitalizations, and deaths.
"Sadly, there were nearly 10,000 deaths: 1,100 in children and 7,500 among
young adults," CDC Director Thomas R. Frieden, MD, MPH, said at a news
conference. "That is much higher than we would see in a usual flu season. This
is a flu that is much harder on young people and that has largely spared the
The new estimates suggest that about 15% of the population -- one in six
Americans -- has had the H1N1 swine flu.
"That leaves most Americans not infected or vaccinated and still susceptible
to H1N1 flu," Frieden said. "Even if there were a lot of infections without
symptoms and adding in those who have been vaccinated, that still leaves a lot
of people unprotected. Only time will tell what the future will hold -- but the
more people who get vaccinated, the lower the probability of a third wave of
The estimates suggest that there may have been as many as 13,930 deaths and
67 million flu cases from the beginning of the epidemic in April to Nov. 14.
Here's the CDC's breakdown according to age:
The U.S. H1N1 swine flu vaccine supply continues to grow. The federal
government has now shipped 85 million doses to states. Many states have begun
offering the vaccine to anyone who wants it; others have expanded eligibility
to include most residents.
One of those states is Georgia, where the CDC is based. Frieden said that
all CDC personnel will now be asked to get the vaccine.
"I will get vaccinated using the nasal spray in the next few days,"
Frieden said. Frieden turns 50 next year, and the nasal spray vaccine is
approved only for healthy people age 2 to 49.