The floodgates have opened on the flu, with millions of people across the U.S. reporting the illness and nearly 3,000 deaths from influenza since the beginning of October, according to the latest statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
With the start of the holiday season and large family gatherings, cases are expected to keep rising.
“We are likely to see an increase in the upcoming weeks,” Lynnette Brammer, an epidemiologist and team lead of CDC’s domestic influenza surveillance team, told NBC News.
So far this season, an estimated 6.2 million flu illnesses have been logged, according to the latest CDC data.
Twelve of the influenza deaths occurred in children.
Of the samples reported to the CDC this season, about 76% are the H3N2 strain of influenza A. The rest are H1N1. Both versions of the flu can result in severe illness.