NEW YORK — An estimated 80,000 Americans died of flu and its complications last winter — the disease’s highest death toll in at least four decades.

The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Robert Redfield, revealed the total in an interview Tuesday night with The Associated Press.

Flu experts knew it was a very bad season, but at least one found size of the estimate surprising.


“That’s huge,” said Dr. William Schaffner, a Vanderbilt University vaccine expert. The tally was nearly twice as much as what health officials previously considered a bad year, he said.

In recent years, flu-related deaths have ranged from about 12,000 to — in the worst year — 56,000, according to the CDC.

Last fall and winter, the U.S. went through one of the most severe flu seasons in recent memory. It was driven by a kind of flu that tends to put more people in the hospital and cause more deaths, particularly among young children and the elderly.

The season peaked in early February. It was mostly over by the end of March, although some flu continued to circulate.

Making a bad year worse, the flu vaccine didn’t work very well. Experts nevertheless say vaccination is still worth it, because it makes illnesses less severe and save lives.

“I’d like to see more people get vaccinated,” Redfield told the AP at an event in New York. “We lost 80,000 people last year to the flu.”

CDC officials do not have exact counts of how many people die from flu each year. Flu is so common that not all flu cases are reported, and flu is not always listed on death certificates. So the CDC uses statistical models, which are periodically revised, to make estimates.

Fatal complications from the flu can include pneumonia, stroke and heart attack.

CDC officials called the 80,000 figure preliminary, and it may be slightly revised. But they said it is not expected to go down.

It eclipses the estimates for every flu season going back to the winter of 1976-1977. Estimates for many earlier seasons were not readily available.

Last winter was not the worst flu season on record, however. The 1918 flu pandemic, which lasted nearly two years, killed more than 500,000 Americans, historians estimate.

It’s not easy to compare flu seasons through history, partly because the nation’s population is changing. There are more Americans — and more elderly Americans — today than in decades past, noted Dr. Daniel Jernigan, a CDC flu expert.

U.S. health officials on Thursday are scheduled to hold a media event in Washington, D.C., to stress the importance of vaccinations to protect against whatever flu circulates this coming winter.

And how bad is it going to be? So far, the flu that’s been detected is a milder strain, and early signs are that the vaccine is shaping up to be a good match, Jernigan said.

“We don’t know what’s going to happen, but we’re seeing more encouraging signs than we were early last year,” he said.

— Mike Stobbe

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  • Matt Rourke, you don’t look to be a reporter, it looks as if you’re a mouthpiece for Big Pharma. If you would have taken the time to do your research before posting this article, you would have found, on the CDC website that influenza deaths are lumped together with pneumonia deaths. They are listed as P&I deaths on the CDC website and approximately 70,000 of the 80,000 deaths were from pneumonia. (Tip: look at the Fluview statistics at Be sure to read the disclaimer, it will open your eyes too.
    Then looking further you would have seen that the majority of the 10,000 deaths were from ILIs or influenza like illnesses, which they’re 200 of them. There are also influenza associated illnesse deaths included in those numbers. For all these illnesses the flu shot is useless. Also 90% of influenza in the USA is Type C, which is mild like a cold.
    The other 10% Influenza Type A (the deadly one if your infirm or immune compromised) and Type B. It takes approx 6-8 months to get a vaccine from day-one to the public and by then most flu viruses have mutated, rendering the vaccines again useless. And there’s more.
    If your interested and want to get a little insight from a highly researched and referenced article go to I realize that it takes time and effort to dig through the CDCs website (because I’ve done it) but all this information is there for anyone to read. And, I also understand your not the only parrot for pharma, but it would be nice for you to stop writing fake news. Looking forward to hearing from you.

  • These numbers are absolutely untrue
    Brought to you by Big Pharma
    How dare you lie to scare the masses to get your poison

    • I’m not sure if the CDC has those statistics, and if they did they usually bury statistics they don’t want to be known under layers of other statistics so they’re difficult to find.
      With that said, if you look at the Fluarix double-blind study that’s shown in my article below you will see that 1% of the vaccinated got the flu.

  • TAKING A GOOD LOOK AT THE FLU SHOT, all statistics are from the CDC, FDA, & HHS websites, a Fluarix vaccine insert, and

    Normally there’re not enough confirmed cases of influenza in the United States each year for the flu to be a significant disease, surely not an epidemic. The vast majority of influenza cases in the United States are Type C, a mild form that could require a doctor visit, depending on how healthy you are. Confirmed influenza deaths are practically always Type A and occasionally Type B. Both are rare in the USA, and the majority of deaths are from the infirmed and elderly patients.
    The CDC reported an estimated 89,621 deaths from pneumonia and influenza (P&I) at week 22 of last years flu-season, this was reported in the news as 4,000 influenza deaths per week. If you remove the “confirmed” pneumonia deaths (76,747), there were only 10,874 “reported” deaths from influenza. This represents influenza deaths at 3.3 per 100,000 people in the United States or 0.000033% of the population. And, only a fraction of those deaths was Type A or Type B, because as stated on the CDC website, they included influenza-like illness (ILI) in their influenza statistics. These statistics show that the total influenza&ILI deaths are a rarity in the USA and it would be even rarer for Types A or B, and the CDC touted the 2017-18 flu season as an epidemic season.
    The CDC not only misrepresents statistics on deaths, uses per capita rates to hide small percentages, but they and vaccine manufactures also deceive you when showing the percentage of vaccine efficiency. They take the flu vaccine’s actual efficiency of 2% and using creative math inflate efficiency to as high as 66%. This can be easily illustrated by using a double-blind study found in a Fluarix vaccine insert-booklet. It states online 319: 5105 people got vaccinated with Fluarix, and 49 (1%) got the flu. (49÷5013=1.0%). 2549 people got vaccinated with a Placebo and 74 (2.9%) got the flu (74÷2549=2.9%).
    The facts show vaccine efficiency to be 1.9% (2.9% – 1% = 1.9%). But, Fluarix’s shows 66% efficiency by creativity using a ratio of the percentages 1%: 2.9% (1÷2.9 = 66%). Of course Fluarix doesn’t show the percentages or the math in the booklet, but either way, vaccinated or unvaccinated the odds of anyone getting flu or ILI was under 3%; and as shown above, a 0.000033% chance of dying from it.
    The 2018’s common quadrivalent flu shot contained: four live flu strains, A/Michigan (H1N1), A/Hong Kong (H3N2), B/Brisbane, and B/Phuket; Thimerosal, which contains 49% mercury, an arguably the worst neurotoxins known to humans; formaldehyde, also a neurotoxin and carcinogen; aluminum salts, another neurotoxin; Gelatin, from pigs, chicken egg proteins, and antibiotics that are all allergen. The question is, is the risk of injecting this toxic cocktail in your body worth the 3% chance of getting the flu, and the 0.000033 (3.3 hundred-thousandths of a percent) chance of dying from it.
    The CDC uses per capita rates for many of its statistics when the percentages are very small. They take the tiny percentage and multiply it by 100,000 to make a more usable number. Also, ILI, which there’re more than 200 of them, have flu-like symptoms except there are no influenza viruses present, and vaccination is ineffective for these diseases. Also, the CDC uses an estimating model that gathers statistics from 70 counties in 11 states and extrapolates that information to present national statistics to the public; this is stated many times on warning labels throughout the FluView section of their website.
    If the CDC was stating the facts about health and safety on their website, flu vaccines are about 2% effective, but if they’re promoting and selling vaccines it’s 50+% effective. The CDC sells over $3,600,000,000 worth of vaccines a year. It’s a little confusing to know where the CDC’s allegiances lay, their assigned job of protecting the public, or their unassigned job of promoting and selling vaccines for the pharmaceutical industry.


    • Richard, thank you for doing the research on this. I have never taken a flu shot and have no plans too as long as I am healthy. I have always felt that flu shots were a lot of hype for the big Pharma’s to make big money. Doctors also make a lot of money from giving the shots and on their stock in the big Pharma companies. Lots of people profit from the vaccines. I also think the chemicals in the vaccines are harmful to our bodies. Probably more so than the flu itself. Maybe for the elderly that are ill or for people with depressed immune systems the risk of the vaccine might outweigh the risk of death from the flu. Still a bit confused if babies need the vaccine or not. I know one thing that would help, above all else, with the spread of the influenza and that is if sick people would stay home and not infect others. They would be helping themselves, also, by taking care of themselves by staying home and getting rest so their bodies can heal.

  • I found the information highly beneficial. I hope it encourages people to understand the risks of not protecting against from the decease.

  • I am a multiple myeloma cancer patient. I was diagnosed with influenza A yesterday. I have been running fevers as high as 101.9. The information I find on line talks about 80,000 deaths from influenza, but it doesn’t mention type A. Is A A milder type? I am a 67 male. I was diagnosed officially in March I’ll 2017. But they gave me a tentative diagnosis that I was in a group that was at higher risk to get it. By March I had full-blown multiple myeloma and it had already caused all five of my lumbar spine to have compression fractures. I have been to the male clinic for the transplant completed a year ago in October. Thank you, John

  • I am a multiple myeloma cancer patient. I was diagnosed with influenza A yesterday. I have been running fevers as high as 101.9. The information I find on line talks about 80,000 deaths from influenza, but it doesn’t mention type A. Is A A milder type? I am a 67 male. I was diagnosed officially in March I’ll 2017. But they gave me a tentative diagnosis that I was in a group that was at higher risk to get it. By March I had full-blown multiple myeloma and it had already caused all five of my lumbar spine to have compression fractures. I have been to the male clinic for the transplant completed a year ago in October. I would appreciate more information on influenza a. Thank you, John

    • Type A is the strongest and most aggressive form of the flu and should not be taken lightly. Do not get vaccinated. I’ve written an informative article on the flu shot at that will give you the information you’re looking for. Your age and cancer put you at high risk so finding a Naturopathic Physician who’s successfully treated influenza A, who can work with your oncologist should be high on your list. Get recommendations and interview them.

    • The CDC holds patents for many vaccines, so they definitely want to spread fear to promote their products. Them and Bill Gates are pure evil

  • Denise, I am so sorry to hear you are ill. Hope you are feeling better by now. What strain of the flu virus did (or do) you have? Three years ago my sister took the flu shot and still got very sick. Doctor said it was “probably” one not covered by the flu shot that was given that year. Just wondering???

  • Wow, it used to be that stupid people were at least smart enough to find the answers that smart people had, now they have some crazy idea that the idiots have everything all worked out because mercury or fluoride or maybe even contrails or something….
    The internet ruined the world because it gave every moron a voice.

    • John, you are showing us all what a good example of what happens when “stupid” “idiots” act like “morons”. The internet has nothing to do with ruining the world. That very comment shows the lack of intelligent thinking on your part. People have always had something to say, just because you do not approve of what is said certainly is not changing the world. You either listen to the idiots or you don’t. But if you believe the idiots then what does that make you? If you make so many ignorant assumptions based on the little bit you THINK you understand, you are the bigger problem.

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