School districts in at least 12 states have already lost at least one school day because of the ongoing flu season. There have been 11.4 million flu-related illnesses and over 100,000 hospitalizations as of Jan. 19.
Flu-Related School Cancellations
Flu activity increased in the past weeks. In fact, the week that ended in Jan. 19 alone, there were three additional pediatric deaths related to flu, bringing the total number to 22. Furthermore, in the same week, the states reporting high flu activity also rose to 36 from 30 in the previous week.
There are about 55 million students and 7 million staff members who attend 130,000 public and private school in the United States every day, and they are being affected by the flu season as well. Although no government agency takes note of the number of school closings related to the flu, CNN did an unofficial tally and found that school districts in at least 12 states have already closed for a day or more because of flu outbreaks.
Furthermore, there are also private schools that canceled classes in additional states including New York, New Jersey, Louisiana, and West Virginia.
Although the flu season is already in full swing, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention still state that the best response against the flu is the flu vaccine. Everyone aged 6 months and older are recommended to get the flu shot each year. This, as well as the pneumonia vaccine, is especially important in children below 2 years old and adults over 65 years old. In fact, the overall rates of hospitalization in the past week were highest among those over 65 years old and under 4 years old.
While the flu vaccine is not perfect, and people who get it may still get the flu, it can lessen the likelihood of hospitalization and death. Last year, the flu shot’s effectiveness was at 40 percent, meaning that it reduced people’s chances of requiring medical care by 40 percent.