NEW YORK (AP) — The flu has further tightened its grip on the U.S. This season is now as bad as the swine flu epidemic nine years ago.
A government report out Friday shows 1 of every 13 visits to the doctor last week was for fever, cough and other symptoms of the flu. That ties the highest level seen in the U.S. during swine flu in 2009.
And it surpasses every winter flu season since 2003, when the government changed the way it measures flu.
“I wish that there were better news this week, but almost everything we’re looking at is bad news,” said Dr. Anne Schuchat, acting director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Flu season usually takes off in late December and peaks around February. This season started early and was widespread in many states by December. Early last month, it hit what seemed like peak levels — but then continued to surge.
VANCOUVER — This study will make you think twice about stepping outside for a breath of fresh air. A team of scientists from around the world confirmed millions of viruses rising into the atmosphere, traveling — sometimes for thousands of miles — and falling back down to the surface.
The study, carried out by researchers from the U.S., Canada, and Spain, is the first of its kind to confirm viruses are being swept up into the free toposphere — the layer of atmosphere between the area where Earth’s weather systems develop — and below the stratosphere, where airplanes fly.
The numbers are “astonishing” the researchers say, but remember, a virus is a tiny particle, little more than a strand of DNA and a mechanism for attaching to organic matter.
“Every day, more than 800 million viruses are deposited per square metre above the planetary boundary layer — that’s 25 viruses for each person in Canada,” says University of British Columbia virologist Curtis Suttle, lead author of the study, in a media release.