The number of children dying from influenza in the United States is higher at this point in the flu season than it has been in 10 years, and the virus is gaining momentum, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said.
In the latest report from the CDC, 92 children died in the US as of Feb 8 - or Week 6 of the official flu season. The death toll is the highest number at this point in the flu season since the severe flu season of 2009-10 when 262 children had died by this point.
Experts say the numbers could continue to increase. In total, the flu has killed an estimated 14,000 people in the US this season, with some 26 million infected and 250,000 hospitalized, the CDC said, making this outbreak far worse than the coronavirus so far.
The CDC said that while the number of hospitalizations is similar to other seasons, the number of children being hospitalized is higher than usual, probably because this year there are two strains spreading - a double barrel flu season.
Sixty-two of the pediatric deaths were due to influenza B, while 30 were caused by influenza A, according to the CDC.
Influenza B viruses mostly affect children and young adults, while influenza A is more common in those over 25 years old. The elderly are less affected by both viruses this season.
The CDC said that statistics on the effectiveness of this year's vaccine will be released next week, but stressed that vaccination is strongly recommended as the best way to combat the virus.
Experts told CNN it is potentially a bad time for a longer flu season, because of worries about Covid-19 and the fact that there could be confusion about whether people are getting sick with it or the flu.
Health officials are trying to use labs that test for flu to check for coronavirus too.