CDC reports 2020 influenza season particularly hard on children

A partner post by the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment

While Colorado and the world focus on the spread of the coronavirus, this year’s influenza season is proving especially bad for children.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported 166 pediatric flu deaths nationally, the highest number seen since recently with the exception of the 2009 H1N1 pandemic. In Colorado, pediatric flu deaths stand at three, the same number reported for the 2018-2019 flu season and already two more than were reported in the 2017-2018 flu season.

New CDC numbers also show unusually high hospitalization rates for children with those 4 years old and younger being admitted at a rate or 94.1 per 100,000 children. This represents the highest rate on record at this point in the flu season. This is again, in stark contrast to the coronavirus, which has been relatively mild in children for reasons researchers have not yet determined.

Across all ages, the CDC estimates 39 million people have gotten sick, 410,000 have been hospitalized and 24,000 have died. In Colorado, 3,457 have been hospitalized.

Nationally, the predominant circulating strain for all ages is Influenza A (H1N1). But the CDC reports that Influenza B has been most common among children this season and is known to be severe for this age group. About two-thirds of pediatric deaths were due to influenza B, the data shows.

The AAP and CDC recommend everyone 6 months and older get vaccinated. Physicians with high-risk patients who have contracted the virus should treat them promptly with antivirals.


[1] Recommendations for Prevention and Control of Influenza in Children, 2019–2020 COMMITTEE ON INFECTIOUS DISEASES Pediatrics October 2019, 144 (4) e20192478; DOI: