The burden of influenza in the United States can vary from year to year depending on which viruses are circulating, how many people receive an influenza vaccination, and how effective the vaccination is in that particular year. During the 2019-2020 flu season, around 20,000 people lost their lives to the disease. Although most people recover from influenza without needing medical care, the disease can be deadly among young children, the elderly, and those with weakened immune systems or chronic illnesses.
Deaths due to influenza
Even though most people recover from influenza without medical care, influenza and pneumonia are the ninth leading cause of death in the United States. Influenza is a common cause of pneumonia and although most cases of influenza do not develop into pneumonia, those that do are often more severe and more deadly. Deaths due to influenza are most common among the elderly, with a mortality rate of around 22 per 100,000 population during the 2019-2020 flu season. In comparison, the mortality rate for those aged 50 to 64 years was just 9 per 100,000 population.
The most effective way to prevent influenza is to receive a yearly influenza vaccination. These vaccines have proven to be safe and are usually cheap and easily accessible. Nevertheless, every year a large share of the population in the United States still fails to get vaccinated against influenza. For example, in the 2019-2020 flu season only 38 percent of those aged 18 to 49 years received a flu vaccination. Unsurprisingly, children and the elderly are the most likely to get vaccinated. It is estimated that during the 2018-2019 flu season vaccinations prevented around 1.3 million influenza cases among children aged 6 months to 4 years.
Number of influenza deaths in the United States from 2010 to 2020
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CDC. (October 4, 2021). Number of influenza deaths in the United States from 2010 to 2020 [Graph]. In Statista. Retrieved May 26, 2022, from https://www.statista.com/statistics/1124915/flu-deaths-number-us/
CDC. "Number of influenza deaths in the United States from 2010 to 2020." Chart. October 4, 2021. Statista. Accessed May 26, 2022. https://www.statista.com/statistics/1124915/flu-deaths-number-us/
CDC. (2021). Number of influenza deaths in the United States from 2010 to 2020. Statista. Statista Inc.. Accessed: May 26, 2022. https://www.statista.com/statistics/1124915/flu-deaths-number-us/
CDC. "Number of Influenza Deaths in The United States from 2010 to 2020." Statista, Statista Inc., 4 Oct 2021, https://www.statista.com/statistics/1124915/flu-deaths-number-us/
CDC, Number of influenza deaths in the United States from 2010 to 2020 Statista, https://www.statista.com/statistics/1124915/flu-deaths-number-us/ (last visited May 26, 2022)