It's a month later than normal, but the influenza season finally appears to be lightening its grip on the United States.
Don't be fooled, however, because flu activity in the U.S. is still higher than normal, and could remain elevated for a little longer.
National statistics from the Centers for Disease Control say that flu numbers dropped from the week of Feb. 4-10 to Feb. 11-17, but all states but Hawaii and Oregon are still reporting widespread flu.
There were also 13 more pediatric deaths related to the flu during the week of Feb. 11-17.
This brings the total since Oct. 1, 2017 to 97 in America – four of which were in Minnesota.
In Minnesota, the number of flu-related hospitalizations last week (Feb. 11-17) dropped a significant amount.
According to data from the Minnesota Department of Health, there were just 261 hospitalizations last week, the lowest it's been since the penultimate week of December.
Since Oct. 1, there have been 4,699 Minnesotans hospitalized with flu-related symptoms. That number is far and away the highest in any flu season in the state in the last six years.
- 2017-18: 4,699
- 2016-17: 3,695
- 2015-16: 1,538
- 2014-15: 4,081
- 2013-14: 1,578
- 2012-13: 3,075
The H3N2 strain of the flu virus is to blame for the majority of flu cases this season, and doctors recently told GoMN that it's a particularly nasty strain, with the flu vaccine reported to be only about 25 percent effective against it.