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Flu May Have Peaked, But Experts Eye Jump in Nastier Strain

It's not unusual for several flu strains to spread around the country at the same time, but one kind usually predominates

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Flu May Have Peaked, But Experts Eye Jump in Nastier Strain
    Joe Raedle/ Getty Images
    This October 4, 2018, file photo shows a nurse practitioner preparing an influenza vaccination at the CVS Pharmacy store's MinuteClinic in Miami, Florida.

    There's a strong chance this flu season has peaked, but health officials are watching a recent wave of illnesses from a nastier flu strain.

    Flu was reported to be widespread in 48 states last week, down from 49 the week before, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday in its latest report on this winter's flu season. The federal agency's flu forecasters think there's a 90 percent chance the flu season has peaked.

    But experts also are monitoring an increase in illnesses from a kind of flu virus that tends to cause more hospitalizations and deaths, especially in the elderly.

    It's not unusual for several flu strains to spread around the country at the same time, but one kind usually predominates.

    Clerk Pulls Out Machete on Would-Be Robber

    [NATL] Clerk Pulls Out Machete on Would-Be Robber

    A would-be robber armed with a knife had a surprise in store when an Alabama store clerk pulled out a machete in defense. The two's brief knife fight was caught on camera before the clerk runs out to damage the robber's car.

    According to police, suspect Seth Holcomb walked up to the counter to make a purchase. He leaves the store and then comes back in as if to make a second purchase. Then, he pulled out a knife at the counter. What he didn't expect was that the clerk would pull out a machete of his own.

    (Published Wednesday, March 20, 2019)

    This season, a milder strain has been the most common cause of flu illnesses. But for the last two weeks, more illnesses have been tied to a strain that tends to cause more deaths.

    Last week, about 60 percent of the flu virus samples tested were the more troublesome strain, known as Type A H3N2.

    Uncertainty about what kind of H3N2 will be spreading later this year recently led the World Health Organization to postpone its decision on which strains should go into the flu vaccine for next season.

    Last season, an estimated 80,000 Americans died of flu and its complications, the disease's highest death toll in at least four decades. In recent years, flu-related deaths have ranged from about 12,000 to 56,000, according to the CDC.

    CDC officials estimate there have been somewhere around 20,000 to 30,000 flu-related deaths so far this winter.

    They also think there have been around 300,000 flu-related hospitalizations and around 25 million flu illnesses.

    YouTube Mom Accused of Abusing Foster Kids for Clicks

    [NATL] YouTube Mom Accused of Abusing Foster Kids for Clicks

    Machelle Hackney of Maricopa, Arizona, is accused of forcing her adopted children to participate in her YouTube channel and abusing them if they did not recall their lines or perform as directed. Hackney's channel had accrued hundreds of millions of views since she joined in 2012.

    (Published Wednesday, March 20, 2019)