Respiratory Virus Levels Remain High, CDC Says

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Feb. 20, 2024 -- Respiratory virus levels remain high, although the worst of this winter seems to have passed, the CDC says.

Numbers have been declining in recent weeks, with flu hospitalization rates falling to about half of what they were in December, according to data from the CDC. Hospitalization rates for COVID-19 were about a third lower.

“While the respiratory virus season is likely past its peak, it is definitely not over,” the agency wrote Friday. “There is still a lot of respiratory virus activity, so it’s not time to let our guard down.”

The CDC said this season’s peak in “combined COVID-19, flu, and RSV hospitalizations” was not as high as last year’s. The healthcare system wasn’t burdened as much, and cumulative hospitalizations from COVID-19 and flu are lower.

About half of Americans have received a flu shot this season, the CDC says. About 22% of adults and 12% of children have had the latest Covid-19 shot.

“COVID-19 activity remains high, and getting vaccinated can protect you from severe illness, hospitalization, and death,” the CDC said.

“Significant” flu activity can last through May.

In addition to vaccinations, the CDC recommends masking, physical distancing, handwashing, and improving airflow to help slow the spread of respiratory viruses. Early testing can help bring needed treatment.

CNN noted, “Covid-19 viral levels in wastewater remain high in the US – especially in the South, where levels are twice as high as the rest of the country. Despite the improvements, thousands of people are still being hospitalized with Covid-19: more than 21,000 people during the week ending on February 10, according to the CDC. The latest data from the CDC on Covid-19 deaths is incomplete, but it estimates that there were at least 650 deaths during the week ending February 10.”