While we are obsessing about Covid-19, no one I know of is asking the obvious related question. How many Americans have died from the flu this season? The information is readily available on the CDC’s website. According to the Center (as of February 29):
- Nationally, influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 viruses are now the most commonly reported influenza viruses this season. Previously, influenza B/Victoria viruses predominated nationally.
- Overall, hospitalization rates remain similar to this time during recent seasons, but rates among school aged children and young adults are higher at this time than in recent seasons and rates among children 0-4 years old are now the highest CDC has on record at this point in the season, surpassing rates reported during the second wave of the 2009 H1N1 pandemic.
- Pneumonia and influenza mortality has been low, but 136 influenza-associated deaths in children have been reported so far this season. This number is higher for the same time period than 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 34 million flu illnesses, 350,000 hospitalizations and 20,000 deaths from flu.
If Covid-19 had killed 136 children, sickened 34 million people, caused 350,000 hospitalizations, and had been the cause of death of 20,000 Americans the press would be out of its collective mind, making the dubious assumption that it had a mind. As of March 7 there were 213 cases of Covid-19 in the US with 11 deaths.
This sort of viral infection happens every year without causing Armageddon. But when a viral respiratory infection with a new name appears Hellzapoppin is the result. The country needs a sedative.
Update: As of March 7 CDC estimates that so far this season there have been at least 36 million flu illnesses, 370,000 hospitalizations and 22,000 deaths from flu.