NEW YORK — The flu has further tightened its grip on the U.S. This season is now as bad as the swine flu epidemic nine years ago.
A government report out Friday shows 1 of every 13 visits to the doctor last week was for fever, cough and other symptoms of the flu. That ties the highest level seen in the U.S. during swine flu in 2009.
And it surpasses every winter flu season since 2003, when the government changed the way it measures flu.
This season started early and has been driven by a nasty type of flu that tends to put more people in the hospital and cause more deaths than other more common flu bugs.
But its long-lasting intensity has surprised experts, who are still sorting out why it’s been so bad. Flu usually peaks in February.
Some doctors say this is the worst flu season they’ve seen in decades. Some people are saying that, too.
Veda Albertson, a 70-year-old retiree in Tampa, was sick for three weeks with high fever and fluid in her lungs. She said she hadn’t been this sick from the flu since the 1960s, when she was a young mother who couldn’t get out of bed to go to the crib of her crying baby.