The 2017-18 flu season is proving to be one of the worst on record, and according to Fortune, it's even deadlier than the 2009-10 swine flu outbreak that killed more than 12,000 people in the United States.
Specifically, the flu and pneumonia, which Fortune says are closely tied together during the winter months, killed approximately 1 of every 10 Americans who died during the third week of 2018, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.
- Total deaths that week: 40,414
- Deaths from the flu/pneumonia that same week: 4,064
To be clear, pneumonia has killed more than the flu has.
CDC data shows that there were 2,989 flu deaths during the first three weeks of 2018 (latest data available) while pneumonia claimed the lives of 11,076 Americans.
Even more ominous is that Fortune warns the flu's weekly death count will undoubtedly rise in coming weeks because the peak of flu season is in full swing, with no end in sight.
An internal medicine specialist from Hennepin County Medical Center told GoMN late last week that peak flu season typically winds down near the end of January, but this year is fighting the norm and last longer.
The Fortune article says it could be months before the peak starts to fade.
Future universal flu vaccine?
To combat flu epidemics in the future, Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar is introducing a bill to fund flu research with an end goal of creating a vaccine that treats all flu strains.
"This research would help us to develop a universal vaccine that would help protect people from all variations of the flu," Klobuchar said, via KARE.