The federal government just released the latest numbers on the flu this morning.. and it's looking more serious. The Center for Disease and Control and Prevention now says the number of deaths from flu and pneumonia is slightly above epidemic levels. Almost all of the nation is now dealing with the flu . 47 states are reporting widespread flu activity up from 41 last week. But the number of hard hit states has dropped. So far 20 children have died from the flu this year. The CDC does not keep count of adult deaths but estimates the flu kills about 24,000 people every year.
So just how effective is this year's vaccine? The CDC estimates the vaccine is 62-percent effective, which is typical each year. Experts say while it may not prevent all flu cases, the vaccine can make the symptoms milder so if you haven't gotten your shot yet, now is the time. But finding a vaccine can be difficult in some areas. With such high demand, doctors and pharmacies are quickly running out . Many areas of the country are also dealing with shortages of anti-viral medications like Tamiflu . The drugs can ease symptoms if taken soon after symptoms start.