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Up to 7 million people have had the flu so far this season as CDC releases first-ever in-season stats

The New York Daily News - 1/12/2019

Jan. 12--As many as 7 million Americans have been sick with the flu so far this season, federal health officials revealed Friday in the first set of stats they've ever released while a flu season was still ongoing.

The numbers also show that as many as 3.5 million have gone to the doctor due to the flu, and as many as 83,000 have been hospitalized because of the nasty virus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced.

This is the first time these estimates -- which cover the period from Oct. 1 through Jan. 5 -- are being provided during a flu season. The estimates will continue to be updated every Friday during the season, which generally runs from October to as late as May.

A CDC spokesman told the Daily News that the agency is not yet comfortable assessing the severity of this flu season until its over, since there are no comparative stats for the same time frame last year.

Last year's flu season was the worst in decades, with nearly 50 million Americans coming down with the virus and nearly 80,000 deaths.

"CDC continues to recommend flu vaccination as the best way to reduce the risk of flu and its potentially serious complications, including death in children," the agency stated. "People who are very sick or who are at high risk of serious flu complications and get flu symptoms should see a health care provider early in their illness for possible treatment with a flu antiviral drug."

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