The Center for Disease Control has a map of flu activity in the U.S. on the main page of their site, that is updated nearly every week on the current status of H1N1 in the country, called "FluView." This week's reports is as follows:
FluView reports that for the week of January 24-30, 2010, flu activity in the United States remained about the same as during the previous week. Flu activity is relatively low at this time, with most flu continuing to be caused by 2009 H1N1. Flu activity, caused by either 2009 H1N1 or seasonal flu viruses, may rise and fall, but it is expected to continue for several more months.
* Visits to doctors for influenza-like illness (ILI) nationally are low. ILI is also looked at by Region. Of 10 regions in the United States, ILI declined or remained about the same, except for in one region of the country. In Region 10 (Alaska, Oregon, Idaho and Washington), ILI activity increased, but still remains low overall.
* Overall cumulative hospitalization rates for the 2009-10 influenza season have leveled off in all age groups and very few 2009 H1N1-laboratory confirmed hospitalizations were reported by states during the week ending January 3o.
* The proportion of deaths attributed to pneumonia and influenza (P&I) based on the 122 Cities Report decreased slightly over the previous week, but is still higher than expected for this time of year. In addition, another nine flu-related pediatric deaths were reported this week: eight of these deaths were associated with laboratory confirmed 2009 H1N1, and one death was associated with an influenza A virus for which the subtype was undetermined. Since April 2009, CDC has received reports of 321 laboratory-confirmed pediatric deaths: 272 due to 2009 H1N1, 47 pediatric deaths that were laboratory confirmed as influenza, but the flu virus subtype was not determined, and two pediatric deaths that were associated with seasonal influenza viruses. (Laboratory-confirmed deaths are thought to represent an undercount of the actual number. CDC has provided estimates about the number of 2009 H1N1 cases and related hospitalizations and deaths.
* No states reported widespread influenza activity. Six states reported regional influenza activity. They are: Alabama, Georgia, Maine, New Jersey, New Mexico and Virginia. Almost all of the influenza viruses identified so far continue to be 2009 H1N1 influenza A viruses. These viruses remain similar to the virus chosen for the 2009 H1N1 vaccine, and remain susceptible to the antiviral drugs oseltamivir and zanamivir with rare exception.
What is the effectiveness of this kind of overall map or synopsis of the situation? Do you think they have a clear view on the scope of the virus and is there a better way to get a more comprehensive idea of what to expect next?