The flu has infected nearly one million people across the United States, and experts say that’s already more than a quarter of the population.
Now, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly two million Americans have tested positive for the flu, up from 1.2 million in December.
The new figure includes people who were already sick, or who had been hospitalized.
The CDC said in a statement that the flu is the most common flu-related illness, and that the increase in cases is a “very concerning trend.”
“In this rapidly evolving influenza season, the pandemic is affecting the most vulnerable, including people with existing illnesses, those who are pregnant or nursing, and people with a history of influenza, including previous flu seasons,” the CDC said.
“The flu is an ongoing threat that we cannot ignore.”
As the CDC says, there’s no evidence that the pandemics increased the numbers of people who contracted flu-like illness, but the increase is concerning.
“The flu and the pandemaker are two very different diseases,” said Dr. David R. Miller, the director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.
“When the pandeman dies, it is a good thing because it means that all the other diseases are also gone,” Miller said.
The flu season typically starts on November 1 and lasts through March 31.
The average number of people with flu-associated illness is 5.8 million, according the CDC.
The flu season usually lasts from November to March, but that’s been shifted to December, according Miller.
That means that this flu season is now “ticking,” which is the time between when an illness is first reported and when it is detected by the CDC and tested.
“We are really in a pandemic season,” Miller told ABC News.
“People who are in the hospital or have been hospitalized have to have the flu shot or the vaccine because they don’t have the immunity, so they have to take a flu shot and that’s where the spike is occurring,” Miller added.
“We’re going through this very slow pandemic, which means that there’s a lot of people that are at risk for getting this infection, so that’s a good reminder to people to get vaccinated.”
Miller said that people can also be exposed to the flu if they are in a close contact relationship with someone who is ill, or if they have a flu-induced sore throat.
“If you have a sore throat, you may be exposed because the flu vaccine may be effective,” Miller explained.
“If you are a close friend or family member, that’s another area where the flu virus is out there.”
Miller told ABC that people who get the flu have been advised to take it lightly and not be overly concerned about the spread.
“I think everyone should be really cautious, especially if you’re on vacation,” Miller advised.
“People are not really seeing any changes and the flu has not made a huge difference.
I think people are just taking it as it comes.”