Influenza epidemics are also on the rise in the United States after a sharp drop in last year.
The number of cases could reach pre-epidemic levels, say health experts, which is likely to cause more difficulties in the country's hospitals as they battle a wave of Covid-19 cases fueled by the highly infectious omicron variant.
The full spread of the Covid-19 epidemic
"I think we may have what we might call 'the common cold season,'" said Lynnette Brammer, a epidemiologist who leads the local flu testing center at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "In many cases, we are already seeing more flu activities than last year."
The CDC reported more than 4,500 flu cases from national clinical research centers last week on December 18, from about 2,500 cases two weeks earlier. Influenza experts say they expect cases to continue to increase in the next few weeks.
The eastern and central parts of the country are seeing a high prevalence of the flu, with the western parts still reporting low levels of the virus, but that could change in a few weeks, Brammer said.
"The flu is unexpected," he said. "Some years, it will start in the South and go up. Sometimes, it will start in both regions and come in. It doesn't have the same pattern."
CDC data show that most cases are H3N2-type - a type that experts say is very worrying, as they often change more quickly than other types of flu and can cause more hospitalization.
Visits to doctors' offices, emergency care clinics and emergency rooms in hospitals for flu-like illnesses - defined by the CDC as people reporting colds, coughs and sore throats - surpassed the national foundation for the second week in a row, according to agency data. . Hospital admissions for the flu also began to increase two weeks ago.
Two children died of the flu this month. In a typical year, the US had between 150 and 200 child deaths due to the flu, but the two deaths in December were the first child deaths from the disease in more than a year.
Influenza experts have said they are concerned that the country could be at risk of contracting a severe flu this year after the flu outbreak dropped last year. Additionally, some studies suggest the effectiveness of a vaccine against the type of flu you currently have may be reduced this season; however, shooting may still provide protection from serious illness and death, experts say.
Influenza cases were "very low" during the 2020-21 flu season because people were self-defensive, including working remotely, wearing masks and socializing, "said Dr Mark Roberts, director of the Public Health Dynamics Laboratory at the University of Pittsburgh. .
He said he was concerned that regions of the country that currently do not have the means to reduce Covid would see a significant increase in flu cases in the coming weeks.
"What I think is worrying now is that there are a lot of states where they are not doing much to try to block Covid," Roberts said. "They remove the candy authority, allow people to enter houses, and there are variations on how the provinces are handling the situation."
Nancy Foster, vice president of patient quality and safety policy at the American Hospital Association, said the flu outbreak could put pressure on doctors, nurses, respirators and other health workers who are already struggling with Covid cases.
The double presence of Covid and the flu could leave health workers at risk of illness, leading some to lose their jobs, he said.
Bacteria would not only affect doctors and nurses caring for patients.
"When our home-based staff are out, we can't turn the room around immediately or make sure everything is as clean as it should be to accommodate a new patient," he said. "Once the food workers are out, we will not be able to provide food for the people."
Brammer of the CDC urged the public to take "normal" safety measures, including vaccination, shutting down when coughing or sneezing, hand washing, and staying home when sick.
“And if you get sick with the flu, especially if you are very sick or have a very serious chronic condition that puts you at risk for a high fever, talk to your doctor right away because there are antibiotics that can prevent you from getting infected. he is very sick, ”she said.