Emergency rooms around America are dealing with an influx of those with the flu while the virus forces New York officials to declare a state of emergency.
Kaiser Health News: Emergency Departments Are On The Frontline Of The Flu
Though it is still too soon to say whether this is a historically bad flu season or just a bad flu season, one thing is clear: Emergency rooms around the country are filled with a feverish throng that is much larger than last year. Washington Hospital Center had just 20 patients test positive for flu all of last year's season. This season, as of Monday, there were already 179 cases positive for flu (Gold, 1/15).
Medpage Today: Flu Puts N.Y. In State Of Emergency
New York governor Andrew Cuomo (D) declared a statewide public health emergency on Saturday in response to this season's ongoing influenza epidemic. The executive order declaring the emergency provided temporary authorization for pharmacists to administer flu vaccine to children as young as 6 months to allow for as many people to be immunized as possible. The order temporarily modifies -- for 30 days -- the relevant state laws that restrict pharmacist-administered vaccination to individuals 18 and older. There have been reports of vaccine shortages in the face of increased demand as influenza activity picks up (Neale, 1/14).