Hospital admissions for flu over the Christmas period were the worst in over a decade, as cases soared by nearly 40 percent in a week. Those aged under five and over 65 were the worst affected, with those aged over 85 most likely to be admitted to hospital due to suffering from flu.
This winter is the worst since 2017/18 for flu deaths, when 30,000 people died.
However, this year the figures show that hospital admissions are higher, as there were 14.82 admissions per 100,000 people in the week to December 25.
This is compared to 9.44 per 100,000 at the peak of the 2017/18 season.
The latest data shows a dip since, however, data collected between Christmas and New Year is considered to be less reliable.
Dame Jenny Harries, chief executive of the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said: “In the week leading up to Christmas, we saw a dramatic increase in the number of people admitted to hospital with flu, with the highest levels of hospital admissions we’ve seen in at least a decade.”
She also reiterated the advice to wear a face mask if displaying symptoms of flu and COVID-19.
Dame Jenny said: “Frequent handwashing with soap and warm water, catching coughs and sneezes in tissues and keeping your home well-ventilated can also help stop viruses from spreading.
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“COVID-19 also continues to circulate at high levels and anyone eligible for a booster who has yet to take it up should come forward.”
The rate of Covid in hospitals is also rising, following the same trend as flu, with a slight dip since Christmas.
However, even with the dip, the latest flu rate is still higher than in any of the previous four winters.