NEW YORK This year’s cold and flu season is coming to a close, as illness activity has decreased for the fourth consecutive week, ended March 15. Still, 32 states have reported widespread flu activity, versus the 42 states that had reported widespread activity the week prior.
But even with the decline in flu activity, this year’s season is proving stronger when compared to the year-ago season. “Although flu activity is declining, we believe current heightened flu activity versus [last year] remains a significant positive for both Rx and front-end comps in March,” commented Deborah Weinswig, Citi analyst, in a March 24 research note.
As much as 3.4 percent of illness activity reported through the U.S. Influenza Sentinel Provider Surveillance Network for the week ended March 15 were attributed to flu-like illnesses, versus a national baseline of 2.2 percent, Weinswig said. In addition, seven regions reported illness activity above their region-specific baselines, including East North Central, East South Central, Mountain, New England, South Atlantic, West North Central and West South Central.