How many people die in the United States each year from the flu?
There is much confusion about the answer primarily because of unethical and lazy TV analysts using obviously invalid values. A common value cited in September 2021 was 68,000 deaths per year. This number was adopted and even rounded up to 70,000 deaths, and a few even rounded up to 100,000 deaths per year. They do this in a disingenuous attempt to bolster their argument of the day.
The value 60,000 was even used by Dr. Sanjay Gupta of CNN many times as late as 2022. Dr. Gupta is an ethical medical journalist but even he fell pray to the right’s propaganda. His laziness causes real harm and unfortunately I can never accept anything he says on face value again. That’s too bad because life is complicated and digesting all of today’s information is impossible without Trusted Authorities. I’m extremely disappointed in him.
For example, in Nov 2021, Gupta said correctly, “As a society we have the flu that can kill 60,000 people a year.” Unfortunately, his laziness led to him directly saying multiple times on air in Jan/Feb 2022, “The flu kills 60,000 people a year.” And, “The flu has a death rate of 60,000 per year.”
Perhaps it’s a small point, but accurate information is important and here are the actual numbers:
From 2010 through 2019,
Here is a breakdown of flu, influenza, deaths for each year*.
- 2010: 37,000
- 2011: 12,000
- 2012: 43,000
- 2013: 38,000
- 2014: 51,000
- 2015: 23,000
- 2016: 38,000
- 2017: 61,000
- 2018: 34,000
- 2019: 22,000
From the CDC website – https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/burden/index.html