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Flu cases and deaths back up to pre-pandemic levels this season.

With COVID-19 precautions winding down, flu cases and deaths jumped back to pre-pandemic levels this season. 

It’s a reminder flu is more than just a bad cold. It’s a serious respiratory illness that can make anyone sick. It can be especially dangerous if you’re young, old or have health conditions. 

So far this season in Pierce County, 35 people—including 1 child—have died of flu. Hundreds more went to the hospital. It’s the highest number of flu deaths since the pandemic led to universal masking and more people staying home.  

Flu season short but troubling.

Starting in October, flu activity quickly rose to high levels across the county, state and nation. At the same time, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and COVID-19 cases increased, making late Fall 2022 particularly bad for respiratory illness. 

Flu seasonTotal deaths from flu
2021-20222
2020–20210
2019–202014
2018–201942
2017–201831

This flu season has returned to pre COVID-19 pandemic levels of flu deaths. 

Nationally, flu hospitalized more people by Feb. 18 than in any season going back to 2010–2011. 

Cases have tapered for about a month. We’ll monitor flu activity through April.

It’s not too late to get a flu shot! 

A flu shot is the best protection against flu. It protects you and those around you all season. Everyone 6 months or older should get a flu shot each year.  

It’s best to get a flu shot in late summer or early fall—but if you still need to get one, it’s not too late! Ask your healthcare provider, go to a local pharmacy, or visit our flu page to find a place near you. 

Healthy habits help prevent flu. 

Some easy ways you can stop the spread of flu and other diseases: 

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water. 
  • Cough or sneeze into your elbow or a tissue. 
  • Stay home when you’re sick and call a healthcare provider. 

The flu makes some people very sick. 

Some people are at higher risk to get very sick from the flu: 

If you are at higher risk and get sick, contact your healthcare provider and seek treatment right away. 

As we head into spring, remember to enjoy the fresh air, wash your hands and get a flu shot if you haven’t already.