The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported on Friday that flu cases are low nationwide, but more could arise in the upcoming weeks.
“Even these low levels will probably increase in the next couple of weeks,” said Alicia Budd, head of the CDC’s domestic influenza surveillance team, according to NBC News.
The CDC report shows that by the end of last week, most states in the U.S. had low or minimal flu-related hospital visits. The CDC also has not detected an early rise in flu activity this year as it had last year, NBC News reported.
But this week, the agency reported an increase in the number of respiratory illness-related hospitalizations. Between May 21 and Oct. 7, the percentage of hospital visits for respiratory illness increased for people ages 0 to 4 years old and 5 to 24 years old, and remained stable for other age groups, according to the CDC report.
“Given what we saw last year, vaccinating kids is really important to prevent them from getting sick, prevent them from being hospitalized and having the most severe outcomes,” said Danielle Iuliano, senior research epidemiologist at the CDC, according to NBC News.
The influenza virus is one of several viruses that contribute to respiratory illnesses, such as COVID-19 and respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, according to the CDC.
According to ABC News, COVID-19 hospitalizations consistently ticked up in recent months, but are now on the decline nationwide. A CDC spokesperson told ANH that RSV-related hospitalizations are increasing among infants, who are susceptible to the virus. Data from WastewaterSCAN indicates that influenza, COVID-19 and RSV are starting to spread at low levels.
Many hospitals in New York, California and Massachusetts recently restored their mask mandates following the uptick in COVID-19 cases, The New York Times reported. The CDC is recommending that people 6 months and older get a flu shot and COVID-19 booster shot this fall. RSV vaccines are also available for older adults and those who are pregnant.