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Flu activity “very high” in 7 states and Washington D.C.

A health care worker administers a flu shotin Chicago in September. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

At least 25 U.S. states or territories recently have had “very high” or “high” rates of influenza activity, according to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Why it matters: The data suggests this year’s flu season is hitting the U.S. harder and earlier than in previous years, especially in the south.

By the numbers: The CDC preliminarily estimates there have been between 2.8 million and 6.6 million flu illnesses from Oct. 1 through Nov. 5.

  • In that same time period, the CDC estimates there have been between 1,300 and 3,600 deaths from the flu and between 23,000 and 48,000 hospitalizations from it.

The big picture: The CDC categorized Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, Tennessee, South Carolina, Virginia and the District of Columbia as having “very high” levels of flu activity.

  • Flu activity levels have not been this high this early since the 2009 swine flu pandemic.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention's "FluView" map.
Screenshot: CDC

Yes, but: The map does not reflect influenza cases but non-hospitalized medical visits to health care providers for influenza-like illnesses, which the CDC uses to measure the activity level of influenza in a state or territory.

Go deeper: CDC: Black, Hispanic and Indigenous adults more likely to get hospitalized for flu

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