(NBC News) – While much of the world has been focused on the coronavirus, now officially named COVID-19, the flu has been gaining strength in the United States.
It’s now widespread in almost every state.
The Centers for Disease Control estimates there have been 26 to 36 million cases of influenza this season so far, a sharp contrast to the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the country, which stands at just over two dozen.
“The pictures you see coming out of Wuhan with people having trouble getting food, being cared for on cots in gymnasiums, are frankly frightening to people but for people outside the hardest-hit areas of China, I think the concern needs to be more about standard respiratory illnesses,” says Dr. David Weber of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Fears of both can be channeled into productive, preventative behaviors like washing hands, coughing and sneezing into an elbow or tissue, staying home if sick, and in the case of influenza, getting a flu shot.
Experts say it’s not too late.
The CDC says at least 14,000 people have died so far this season from the flu.
92 of them have been children.
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