Some signs point to an early start for flu season, with cases already ticking up in parts of the country.
Flu transmission has been low since the start of the pandemic, but an odd spurt of activity in April, May, and even early June of 2022 — which coincided with the onset of an early and robust flu season in Australia — suggests that flu may be making its way back.
In fact, the influenza trackers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are seeing signs that flu activity is picking up in parts of the country.
Nationally, flu positivity in the clinical labs last week was 3.3%, but it was over 10% in the Southeast. And in the South Central region, it was 5%. Read more here.
Highest Flu Activity Concentrated in the Southern United States
According to the latest CDC FluView report, flu activity is now “low but increasing in most of the country,” with the highest levels of activity thus far in the southeast and south-central U.S. There are signs that influenza is poised to stage its first real COVID-era comeback in the U.S., where pandemic precautions — many of which also helped suppress influenza cases — have mostly been abandoned.
Should a COVID surge coincide with a severe flu season, it would mark the first “twindemic” of the pandemic, which could put a lot of people in hospital and become a significant strain on the U.S. health-care system. Typically, flu season runs from October to May and peaks sometime between December and February, but the exact timing of the peak is notoriously difficult to estimate ahead of time. Last year’s peak was very late; this season’s may come early. Read more here.