- The Washington Times - Friday, January 11, 2019

An estimated 6 million to 7 million people in the U.S. have been sickened by flu this season, the government said Friday in its first-ever mid-season report on key statistics.

Roughly half of those who became ill sought treatment from a doctor, and 69,000 to 84,000 people have landed in the hospital, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The estimates, which cover the period from Oct. 1 to Jan. 5, are calculated from adjusted rates of lab-confirmed cases in a surveillance network that covers about 8.5 percent of the population, or 27 million people.

In the past, the CDC used this mathematical model to create end-of-season estimates, but the agency is employing it now to “fill out the picture” of the flu’s burden midway through the season.

Officials are pleading with Americans to get a flu shot to prevent infection and serious complications from the illness. Last year’s flu season was particularly brutal, resulting in 172 child deaths.

The CDC says people with flu-like symptoms should take basic precautions, such as washing their hands with soap and water and covering their mouths with a tissue when they cough or sneeze.

It also says people stay home from work for at least 24 hours after their fever disappears.

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