As the coronavirus epidemic spreads, the CDC says 136 kids have died from the flu this season — the highest on record in a decade

kmclaughlin@businessinsider.com (Kelly McLaughlin)
·2 min read
kid sick doctor's office
Experts believe the increase in cases is because of a rise in influenza B-type cases.

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The novel coronavirus continues to spread across the US and the world, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says influenza has also affected thousands of Americans.

In a report published on March 6 with data from February 29, the CDC said there had been about 20,000 reported deaths from the flu during the 2019-2020 flu season, which lasts from October to May. Child deaths have hit the highest count since 2009, at 136.

The CDC said that there have been at least 34 million flu illnesses and 350,000 hospitalizations for the flu this season.

"Antiviral medications are an important adjunct to flu vaccine in the control of influenza," the CDC said. "Almost all (>99%) of the influenza viruses tested this season are susceptible to the four FDA-approved influenza antiviral medications recommended for use in the US this season."

Dr. Tara Narula told "CBS This Morning" that the flu is "unpredictable," and a rise in one strain could be why the number of child deaths has increased.

"Because we've seen a shift in the predominant strain, which is usually influenza A," she said. "This year it's influenza B. That hasn't happened since the 1992-1993 flu season. And we know that influenza B tends to affect children more. They tend to have a more severe reaction to influenza B."

Meanwhile, the novel coronavirus continues to sweep the US. Worldwide, COVID-19 has infected more than 116,000 people and caused more than 4,000 deaths. The US has reported 27 deaths.

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