Student absences. Contagious colleagues at work. Time-draining hospital visits.
Thousands of Americans nationwide are grappling with what officials say is turning out to be the worst flu season in nearly a decade. And New Yorkers are falling ill, too.
On the third week of January, there were 7,779 confirmed influenza cases and 1,759 people hospitalized in New York, the highest weekly numbers since the state began reporting them in 2004, according to the New York State Department of Health. In New York City, the flu has sent 3,015 people to the hospital since the season began in October, a 33 percent increase from this time last year.
The uptick has crowded emergency rooms across the state, forcing some hospitals to temporarily divert ambulances and hire more staff. Officials are urging New Yorkers to get vaccinated and some have called on the federal government to ratchet up its efforts in New York.