One way to better understand the risk presented by a new flu season is to look at what has occurred in the past.
For example, during the 2021-2022 influenza season, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates
that influenza was associated with 9 million illnesses, 4 million medical visits, 10,000 hospitalizations, and 5,000 deaths in the US.
In 2019, scientists conducted a global flu mortality rate study, called “The Global Burden of Disease Study (GBD)
.” That study estimated a range of 99,000 to 200,000 annual deaths from lower respiratory tract infections directly attributable to influenza.
To go back one more year in the United States, the CDC estimated
that influenza was associated with more than 35.5 million illnesses, more than 16.5 million medical visits, 490,600 hospitalizations, and 34,200 deaths during the 2018–2019 influenza season.
In other words, the flu consistently has a major impact on human health – and it’s not just in the US. In the UK, it is estimated that there are between 10,000 and 25,000 deaths a year related to the flu
In Germany, it was reported that the number of flu-related deaths in 2018 was over 3,000. That number declined to 1,659 in 2019, 1,307 in 2020, and then dropped all the way down to 38 in 2021 when everyone was wearing masks and social distancing due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The bottom line is during flu season no matter where you are or what is going on in the world, you should also be concerned about the flu.