US reports 13 pediatric deaths due to influenza this week: CDC

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in its weekly report said that Thirteen influenza-associated pediatric deaths happened this week. As many as 74 pediatric flu deaths reported so far this season.

It added that there have been at least 22 million illnesses, 230,000 hospitalisations, and 14,000 deaths from flu.

The CDC recommended that everyone ages 6 months and older get an annual flu vaccine as long as flu activity continues.

Separately, the Omicron subvariant, XBB.1.5, is estimated to account for 27.6% of Covid-19 cases in the US for the week ending 7 January.

The World Health Organization’s senior epidemiologist, Maria Van Kerkhove, earlier this week said XBB.1.5 is the most transmissible Omicron sub-variant that has been detected so far.

Separately, Covid cases have surged in China after the government abandoned its Zero-COVID policy.

Chinese authorities are finding it difficult to track the number of COVID infections in the country due to a stop on mass testing.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) accused China of under-representing the severity of its Covid outbreak, reported CNN.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus at a media briefing in Geneva said: “We continue to ask China for more rapid, regular, reliable data on hospitalisations and deaths, as well as more comprehensive, real-time viral sequencing.”

“WHO is concerned about the risk to life in China and has reiterated the importance of vaccination, including booster doses, to protect against hospitalisation, severe disease, and death,” Ghebreyesus said, as quoted by CNN.

Chinese hospitals and crematoriums are struggling with an influx of patients and dead bodies with rural areas facing most of the brunt.

Chinese authorities have, however, been circulating a narrative that the peak of the current Covid wave had already passed in most of the cities including Beijing, in order to address the concerns of both the domestic and international communities and to justify the CCP’s announcement regarding further relaxation of epidemic prevention and control measures from January.

A recent The Asia Times report said that as many as 40 per cent of the Chinese population was infected by Covid-19 over the past month amid the rising number of cases in the country.

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