Flu Cases Spike Across the Country, Four Children Dead in New Jersey
By [Your Name], Courier Standard Enterprise
Flu activity has rapidly increased from moderate to high in New Jersey, mirroring the surge in cases seen throughout the United States. Disturbingly, four children lost their lives to the flu just last week, bringing the total number of pediatric deaths this season to 12.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 2.6 million people have been afflicted with the flu so far this season, resulting in 26,000 hospitalizations and 1,600 deaths. The dominant strain circulating this year is A(H1N1).
As cases continue to rise, health experts are emphasizing the importance of taking preventative measures to curb the spread of not only the flu but also COVID-19 and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). The CDC recommends wearing masks and increasing vigilance as these viruses gain momentum.
Nationwide, flu cases surged by 6.8 percent last week alone. High or very high flu activity is being reported in 15 states, including New Jersey and New York City. The CDC warns that this upward trend is expected to persist, with an estimated 4,500 to 15,000 hospitalizations likely to occur in the week ending December 23rd.
Hospitalizations due to COVID-19 have also risen by 10 percent across the country during the week ending November 25th. In addition, RSV cases have seen a steady increase since mid-September, peaking in late November and early December.
Dr. Mandy Cohen, director of the CDC, stresses the importance of receiving both COVID-19 and flu vaccinations, with older individuals also encouraged to obtain the RSV vaccine. Cohen also advises taking precautions such as avoiding sick individuals, practicing proper hand hygiene, improving indoor ventilation, and consistently wearing masks.
To further tackle the rising cases, the federal government is offering free at-home COVID-19 tests, allowing individuals to conveniently screen for the virus from the comfort of their own homes.
As the flu season intensifies, it is crucial for individuals to remain informed and take the necessary precautions to protect themselves and others from these infectious illnesses.
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