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Flu activity remains high, but decreased for a second week in a row, according to CDC data

HOUSTON, TEXAS - AUGUST 18: A patient is shown sitting in a hallway at the Houston Methodist The Woodlands Hospital on August 18, 2021 in Houston, Texas. Across Houston, hospitals have been forced to treat hundreds of patients in hallways and corridors as their emergency rooms are being overwhelmed due to the sharp increase in Delta variant cases. Hospitals are straining to keep up with the surge of new coronavirus patients as schools and businesses continue to reopen. Houston has seen an upward increase in Delta infections, and research is showing the Delta variant to be 60% more contagious than its predecessor the Alpha variant, also known as COVID-19. (Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

(CNN) — Seasonal flu activity remains high in the United States but continues to slow in most parts of the country, according to data published Friday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Hospital admissions for flu decreased for the second week in a row last week. There were about 21,000 new hospitalizations for the week ending December 17. That’s down from a season-high of more than 26,000 new admissions two weeks earlier, which was the week following Thanksgiving.

Despite these improvements, respiratory virus activity remains “high” or “very high” in nearly every state. And experts warn that things may tick up again as holiday travel and gatherings continue.

The CDC estimates that there have been at least 18 million illnesses, 190,000 hospitalizations and 12,000 deaths from flu so far this season.

The cumulative hospitalization rate is more than six times higher than it has been at this point in the season in more than a decade.

Indiana-specific data for the week ending Friday, Dec. 17, was not available at the time of publication. Visit the Indiana Influenza Dashboard for more information.

The weekly U.S. flu map for the week ending Dec. 17, 2022. (Provided Photo/CDC)