USA - Key updates for Week 13, ending March 28, 2020
Nationally, the percent of laboratory specimens testing positive for influenza at clinical laboratories continued to decrease and is now low. ILI activity decreased nationally but remains elevated.
Visits to health care providers for influenza-like illness (ILI) decreased from 6.3% last week to 5.4% this week. All regions are above their baselines.
Recent changes in healthcare seeking behavior, including increasing use of telemedicine and recommendations to limit emergency department (ED) visits to severe illness, as well as increasing levels of social distancing, are affecting the number of persons with ILI and their reasons for seeking care in outpatient and ED settings.
Laboratory confirmed influenza-associated hospitalization rates for the U.S. population overall are higher than most recent seasons and rates for children 0-4 years and adults 18-49 years are the highest CDC has on record for these age groups, surpassing rates reported during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic. Hospitalization rates for school-aged children (5-17 years) are higher than any recent regular season but remain lower than rates experienced by this age group during the pandemic.
The percent of deaths associated with pneumonia and influenza is above the epidemic threshold. The increase is due to an increase in pneumonia deaths rather than influenza deaths and may be associated with COVID-19.
162 influenza-associated deaths in children have been reported so far this season. This number is higher than recorded at the same time in every season since reporting began in 2004-05, except for the 2009 pandemic.
CDC estimates that so far this season there have been at least 39 million flu illnesses, 400,000 hospitalizations and 24,000 deaths from flu.
Canada - FluWatch report: March 22 to 28, 2020 (week 13)
The percentage of tests positive for influenza fell below 5% this week. This suggests that Canada is nearing the end of the 2019-2020 influenza season at the national level.
All indicators of influenza activity decreased compared to the previous week.
Laboratory detections and syndromic indicators may be influenced by the COVID-19 pandemic. These data should be interpreted with caution.
The 2019-2020 Seasonal Influenza Immunization Coverage Survey showed that coverage was low among adults aged 18-64 years (34%) and highest among seniors aged 65 years and older (70%).
The highest cumulative hospitalization rates are among children under 5 years of age and adults 65 years of age and older. Hospitalizations among adults are predominantly due to influenza A, while those among children are due to a mix of influenza A and B.