Six pediatric deaths occurred so far this season, all children under the age of 10.
Though the flu is now widespread in about half of states, the 2018-2019 season got off to a relatively mild start, at least compared to the severe 2017-2018 season. The agency estimates that between 6.2 and 7.3 million people had been sick with the flu as of January 5, and about half of them had seen a doctor because of it. Vaccines also work better against it, said the CDC's Dr. Alicia Fry.
"If (this strain) continues to be the predominant virus, that is what we'd expect", Fry said. Flu usually takes off after Christmas and peaks around February.
A total of 17,743 laboratory-confirmed flu cases have been reported, the Public Health Agency of Canada said in its weekly FluWatch report.
As many as 7.3 million people have already gotten the flu this season, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) first real-time flu severity estimates.
The U.S. saw one of the worst flu outbreaks in almost a decade during the 2017-2018 season, with more than 900,000 cases of hospitalizations and over 80,000 deaths, the CDC estimates.
The new data also show that, since October, an estimated 2.9 million to 3.5 million people have gone to the doctor because of the flu, and 69,000 to 84,000 people have been hospitalized due to the illness. "It seems more like a typical flu season", he said.