Flu Hospitalizations Increased 30% Nationwide in One Week

empty hospital bed
empty hospital bed


As the holiday season approaches, the country is experiencing a 30% increase of flu hospitalizations.

More than 11,200 people were hospitalized with the flu during the week ending Nov. 19, compared to about 8,700 people hospitalized the week before, according to data from the Health and Human Services Department.

Health experts believe flu hospitalizations will rise even more following Thanksgiving travel and leading up to Christmas and New Year's Eve travel.

The CDC states that about 11 of every 100,000 people have been hospitalized with the flu since October, which is the highest in the past decade. Additionally, at least 6.2 million flu illnesses have been reported this season, along with 53,000 flu-related hospitalizations and 2,900 flu-related deaths.

"The fact that we're already at this high level going into the holiday season makes me nervous," Scott Hensley, microbiologist and flu expert at the Penn Institute for Immunology, told CNBC, noting that people should stay up to date with their vaccines.

​​"From what we can see, it looks like the vaccines are pretty darn good matches to what's circulating," he added. "If there's ever a time to get vaccinated, this is the year to do it."

RELATED: This Flu Season Is More Severe Than Those of the Last Decade: CDC Data

RELATED: RSV Cases Surge in Older Adults Across America with Hospitalization Rates Up 10 Times in Seniors

Last month, the CDC announced that flu season arrived over a month earlier than usual, and flu-related hospitalizations hadn't been this high at this point in the season since the H1N1 swine flu pandemic in 2009.

The nation has also seen a significant rise in many respiratory illnesses. Earlier this month, new data revealed that about six out of every 100,000 seniors have been hospitalized with Respiratory Syncytial Virus.

This season, which ranges from mid-September to mid-November, has seen a surge in RSV cases among older adults with hospitalization rates 10 times higher than last season. In previous years the CDC saw an average of 60,000-120,000 hospitalizations and about 6,000-10,000 reported deaths.

Earlier in November, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a health advisory alert after it observed an increase in RSV detections and RSV-associated emergency department visits and hospitalizations.