Public Health

Flu Deaths May Have Peaked, Though At Epidemic Levels

Encouraging-ish

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Deaths in the current flu season officially crossed the line into "epidemic" territory Friday, federal health officials said, adding that, on the bright side, there were also early signs that the caseloads could be peaking.

Officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, speaking on a conference call Friday morning, again urged Americans to keep getting flu shots. At the same time, they emphasized that the shots are not infallible: a preliminary study rated this year's vaccine as 62 percent effective, even though it is a good match for the most worrisome virus circulating. That is considered "moderately" effective — the vaccine typically ranges from 50 percent to 70 percent effective.