"The initial indicators indicate this is not going to be a good season - this is going to be a bad season", Fauci said. "Generally, the flu season lasts anywhere between four and 12 weeks, with eight kind of being the average", said Dr. Joseph McBride, an infectious disease specialist at UW Health in Madison. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it does not yet have vaccine effectiveness estimates for this season.
Tom Haupt, influenza surveillance coordinator for the state Department of Health Services, says young children appear particularly vulnerable to this year's flu strain. In the graph, designed by CNN based on the CDC data, the red line indicates flu activity from September 29 through December 28.
Influenza-like illness is being reported during outpatient visits at a rate that is similar to the peak of past flu seasons.More news: Wolves fans react to Ruben Vinagre display vs Manchester United
Fauci pointed out a CDC graph to compare the current flu season to two of the most severe in recent decades.
Doctor Lucretia Carter from Tidelands Health, Georgetown, said she could never tell how severe a flu season is going to be until it begins.
"The only thing predictable about flu is that it's unpredictable".More news: United Kingdom navy to escort British shipping in Strait of Hormuz
There had been more than 2,900 deaths caused by the flu at the time the CDC collected the data.
State Health Officer Jeanne Ayers urged anyone who has not had an annual flu shot to get one. Most flu deaths are people with chronic illness, along with the elderly and small children.
In Virginia, 255 cases of pneumonia-and-influenza-associated deaths have been reported so far this year, according to the state's health department.More news: City Ready to Recycle Real Christmas Trees