Notably, in the comparable report a year ago the CDC described influenza activity as "increased", which was not a word used in the weekly FluView tracking data for the week ending January 5 this year.
It's early, but the current flu season is shaping up to be gentler than last winter's unusually brutal one, USA health officials said. As of December 29, 2018, 13 children had died from influenza this flu season.
"We decided that this year, we would try to release these preliminary numbers of illnesses each week so that we could give people a better picture, " said Alicia Fry, who heads CDC's epidemiology and prevention branch in the influenza division.
The dominant flu strain during the last season, H3N2, has been linked with severe disease and death, particularly among children and the elderly.
In California, Fresno County has seen six flu-related deaths since October, the Fresno Bee reported on Friday, while a total of 42 lives have been lost throughout the state, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The Centers for Disease control reports the flu has become widespread in 31 states including Nebraska. They show between 6 million and 7 million people have been infected with flu, 3 million or more have visited doctors because of flu symptoms and between 70,000 and 80,000 have been sick enough to have been hospitalized. "Flu activity nationally is elevated", the CDC says in its latest report on flu.
"Most people who get sick with flu will have mild illness and will recover in less than two weeks without medical care".
Flu season is not over, and it's not too late to get vaccinated, Fry said. The organization estimates that flu has resulted in between 9.2 million and 35.6 million illnesses each year in the United States and several deaths.
She and other public-health experts urged Canadians who have not yet been vaccinated to get the shot as soon as possible.