From October 2018, up to about 7.3 million people in the United States were flu-sick. Veuer's Mercer Morrison has history.

As the flu season enters its most active period, the first data for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate a milder season than last year.

Over 7.3 million people got flu sick since the start of the season in October, the CDC reported Friday. It is estimated that between 69,000 and 84,000 were hospitalized.

The report offered the first overview of data for the 2018-19 season, which normally runs from October to the end of May.

In most of the country, most of the diseases at this time were caused by an influenza strain that causes fewer hospitalizations and deaths than last year's effort, according to CDC officials.

Nurse Katherine Male prepares an influenza vaccination at the CVS MinuteClinic store on October 4, 2018 in Miami. (Photo: Joe Raedle, Getty Images)

Vaccines also work better against them, said CDC's Dr. Alicia Fry, who suggests a milder flu season.

"If (this strain) continues to be the predominant virus, this is what we would expect," said Fry, head of the epidemiology and prevention division in the influence division of the CDC.

While any influenza activity is alarming, according to the CDC, the overall hospitalization rate is 9.1 per 100,000. At this point last year, the overall hospitalization rate was 30.5 per 100,000.

Last season, about 49 million Americans got ill for the flu, 23 million went to medical care and 960,000 were hospitalized.

Generally, the CDC does not release estimates until the flu season has ended, but researchers have developed a model they consider valuable enough to use during the season.

A positive sign as the flu season enters what is typically its worst period: more people have received flu shots this year than the last. By November 2018, the CDC estimated that 44.9% of adults had been vaccinated. Only 37.1 percent had done so even at the end of the 2017-18 season.

Other: Increase in flu cases: this is what you need to know to feel good [19659005] In the latest data, the widespread influence has been reported in Alabama, Arizona, California , Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, and Wyoming.

The widespread epidemic denotes the influence or the increase of influenza-like illnesses in at least half of the regions of a state.

The regional influence was reported by Puerto Rico and Arkansas, Georgia, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

Regional outbreak: influence or increase of influenza-like illnesses or confirmed influence in at least two but less than half of the regions of a state.

Contribute: Associated Press

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