CDC posts its latest stats for flu on Fridays. See how, despite the pandemonium over flu, things are improving, and it looks like this season is less severe than 2003-4, 2007-8, and 2009-10.
UPDATE #1: January 12: Aetna said this week it has seen a spike in flu cases this year but it is not resulting in more inpatient admissions and it is budgeting about $40 million to $50 million for a normal flu season. That compares with $100 million it spent during the flu season in 2009. -- Thx to Sheri Nakken for the citation UPDATE #2: (FROM JAN 11, Gail Collins in the NY TIMES)
“We have an epidemic of flu every year,” said the New York City health commissioner, Thomas Farley. If there are alarming headlines, he added, it’s because public officials are “trying to get out the message to get your vaccine.” In a phone interview, Farley explained that the city declares an epidemic when more than 5 percent of the people going to emergency rooms are complaining of flu symptoms, which is unusual only in the sense that it doesn’t happen in warm weather. He also managed to work “get your vaccine” into virtually every sentence...
Maybe the national über-angst is because the last two years were really light ones for flu, and we’ve forgotten what a bad one feels like. Also, it’s possible that we’re talking about it more because there isn’t all that much going on.