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States with the most flu and pneumonia deaths

  • States with the most flu and pneumonia deaths

    Health officials are worried that the 2020–2021 flu season could couple with rising COVID-19 cases to create a “twindemic.” If cases of the two respiratory diseases spike at the same time, hospitals may become overloaded with patients, and deaths may increase as a result.

    The flu season in the United States lasts from October to May, although cases tend to peak in December, January, and February. Cases, hospitalizations, and deaths may stay relatively low during some flu seasons, but other years influenza is much more of a public health threat. Since 2010, cases have ranged from between 9 million and 45 million per year and between 12,000 and 61,000 deaths. Not all states are impacted equally. Alaska has the lowest number of flu and pneumonia deaths per capita from 2013 to 2020 at 233 per 100,000 people, and West Virginia has the highest at 687 per 100,000 people.

    Australia, Chile, and South Africa all reported mild flu seasons lasting from June to August 2020, which suggests the same will be true in the 2020–2021 U.S. flu season. This is due in part to precautions such as masks and social distancing that protect against both COVID-19 and the flu, which can both lead to pneumonia.

    Two influenza viruses—influenza A and B—are responsible for the seasonal flu season. New mutations of these viruses and flu vaccination rates can affect the severity of a season. Adults over 65 and children younger than 5, and especially those under age 2, are at high risk of complications from the flu.

    To determine states that have seen the most deaths from flu and pneumonia, Stacker consulted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s Pneumonia and Influenza Mortality Surveillance, from the National Center for Health Statistics Mortality Surveillance System. This source includes deaths from influenza and pneumonia in all flu seasons from 2013–2014 to 2020–2021.

    In this story, states are ranked based on their total flu and pneumonia deaths per capita from 2013 to 2020. Stacker also determined each state’s worst flu season from 2013 to 2020, excluding the current, 2020–2021 season, based on the share of all deaths during the season that were caused by flu and pneumonia. Data included in this story are as of Oct. 3, 2020.

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  • #51. Alaska

    - Total flu and pneumonia deaths, 2013-2020: 1,723 (233 per 100,000 population)
    --- Flu deaths: 100 (14 per 100K)
    --- Pneumonia deaths: 1,623 (220 per 100K)
    --- During 2013-2020 flu seasons, flu and pneumonia caused: 5.6% of all deaths
    - Worst flu season: 2016-2017 (276 deaths, 37 per 100K, 6.3% of all deaths in the season)
    - Deaths recorded so far in 2020-2021: Data not available

    Flu and pneumonia were the 10th leading cause of death in Alaska in 2016. On average, each premature death led to a loss of 6.6 years of life.

  • #50. Utah

    - Total flu and pneumonia deaths, 2013-2020: 8,201 (269 per 100,000 population)
    --- Flu deaths: 417 (14 per 100K)
    --- Pneumonia deaths: 7,784 (256 per 100K)
    --- During 2013-2020 flu seasons, flu and pneumonia caused: 6.5% of all deaths
    - Worst flu season: 2013-2014 (1,177 deaths, 39 per 100K, 7.3% of all deaths in the season)
    - Deaths recorded so far in 2020-2021: 13 (0.4 per 100K, 7.4% of all deaths in the season)

    In 2017, flu and pneumonia claimed 334 lives in Utah. Combined, these illnesses killed fewer people than both firearms and drug overdoses that year, which were responsible for the deaths of 410 and 650 people, respectively.

  • #49. Colorado

    - Total flu and pneumonia deaths, 2013-2020: 17,019 (308 per 100,000 population)
    --- Flu deaths: 1,042 (19 per 100K)
    --- Pneumonia deaths: 15,977 (289 per 100K)
    --- During 2013-2020 flu seasons, flu and pneumonia caused: 6.4% of all deaths
    - Worst flu season: 2019-2020 (3,138 deaths, 57 per 100K, 7.3% of all deaths in the season)
    - Deaths recorded so far in 2020-2021: 12 (0.2 per 100K, 3.9% of all deaths in the season)

    Three children in Colorado died of influenza during the 2019–2020 flu season. However, children weren’t the only ones hit hard by the virus. Colorado experienced 64 outbreaks in long-term care facilities such as nursing homes that season.

  • #48. Idaho

    - Total flu and pneumonia deaths, 2013-2020: 5,530 (328 per 100,000 population)
    --- Flu deaths: 380 (23 per 100K)
    --- Pneumonia deaths: 5,150 (305 per 100K)
    --- During 2013-2020 flu seasons, flu and pneumonia caused: 5.7% of all deaths
    - Worst flu season: 2013-2014 (807 deaths, 48 per 100K, 6.4% of all deaths in the season)
    - Deaths recorded so far in 2020-2021: 3 (0.2 per 100K, 3.3% of all deaths in the season)

    Based on data from the past three years, Idaho has the fifth lowest flu shot rate in the country with only 41.8% of residents vaccinated, according to a report from the insurance and research firm AdvisorSmith. The average state vaccination rate for the 2019–2020 flu season was 51.8%.

  • #47. Georgia

    - Total flu and pneumonia deaths, 2013-2020: 34,277 (333 per 100,000 population)
    --- Flu deaths: 1,070 (10 per 100K)
    --- Pneumonia deaths: 33,207 (322 per 100K)
    --- During 2013-2020 flu seasons, flu and pneumonia caused: 5.9% of all deaths
    - Worst flu season: 2019-2020 (7,310 deaths, 71 per 100K, 7.8% of all deaths in the season)
    - Deaths recorded so far in 2020-2021: 14 (0.1 per 100K, 3.9% of all deaths in the season)

    The 2017–2018 flu season in Georgia brought about record-breaking numbers of hospitalizations. During the peak, more than 500 flu patients visited Grady Memorial Hospital on some days.

     

  • #46. Oregon

    - Total flu and pneumonia deaths, 2013-2020: 13,662 (335 per 100,000 population)
    --- Flu deaths: 1,034 (25 per 100K)
    --- Pneumonia deaths: 12,628 (309 per 100K)
    --- During 2013-2020 flu seasons, flu and pneumonia caused: 5.4% of all deaths
    - Worst flu season: 2013-2014 (1,985 deaths, 49 per 100K, 5.9% of all deaths in the season)
    - Deaths recorded so far in 2020-2021: 5 (0.1 per 100K, 2.8% of all deaths in the season)

    From 2014 to 2016, flu and pneumonia were not in Oregon’s top 10 leading causes of death. However, in 2017 flu/pneumonia beat out hypertension to become the 10th leading cause of mortality in the state.

  • #45. Virginia

    - Total flu and pneumonia deaths, 2013-2020: 28,432 (338 per 100,000 population)
    --- Flu deaths: 1,149 (14 per 100K)
    --- Pneumonia deaths: 27,283 (324 per 100K)
    --- During 2013-2020 flu seasons, flu and pneumonia caused: 6% of all deaths
    - Worst flu season: 2014-2015 (4,547 deaths, 54 per 100K, 6.8% of all deaths in the season)
    - Deaths recorded so far in 2020-2021: 21 (0.2 per 100K, 4.1% of all deaths in the season)

    The 2018–2019 flu season in Virginia lasted longer and further into the spring than previous years because two different viruses caused two waves of influenza. Various regions of the state reported different virus subtypes as more prominent than others for the first time since the state began recording this information.

  • #44. Washington

    - Total flu and pneumonia deaths, 2013-2020: 26,892 (369 per 100,000 population)
    --- Flu deaths: 1,652 (23 per 100K)
    --- Pneumonia deaths: 25,240 (346 per 100K)
    --- During 2013-2020 flu seasons, flu and pneumonia caused: 6.9% of all deaths
    - Worst flu season: 2014-2015 (4,123 deaths, 57 per 100K, 7.5% of all deaths in the season)
    - Deaths recorded so far in 2020-2021: 20 (0.3 per 100K, 4.3% of all deaths in the season)

    During Washington’s deadliest flu season, listed from 2014–2015, most deaths occurred in people who had underlying conditions. However, one child who did not have pre-existing conditions died from the flu, as did two previously healthy adults in their 30s.

  • #43. Texas

    - Total flu and pneumonia deaths, 2013-2020: 106,286 (381 per 100,000 population)
    --- Flu deaths: 3,740 (13 per 100K)
    --- Pneumonia deaths: 102,546 (368 per 100K)
    --- During 2013-2020 flu seasons, flu and pneumonia caused: 7.7% of all deaths
    - Worst flu season: 2019-2020 (22,057 deaths, 79 per 100K, 9.7% of all deaths in the season)
    - Deaths recorded so far in 2020-2021: 54 (0.2 per 100K, 6.2% of all deaths in the season)

    The Texas Department of State Health Services will provide 2.8 million vaccines to both adults and children in preparation for the 2020–2021 flu season. Texas residents can dial 211 for help locating a vaccine provider in their area.

  • #42. Minnesota

    - Total flu and pneumonia deaths, 2013-2020: 21,068 (381 per 100,000 population)
    --- Flu deaths: 1,175 (21 per 100K)
    --- Pneumonia deaths: 19,893 (360 per 100K)
    --- During 2013-2020 flu seasons, flu and pneumonia caused: 6.8% of all deaths
    - Worst flu season: 2014-2015 (3,131 deaths, 57 per 100K, 7.2% of all deaths in the season)
    - Deaths recorded so far in 2020-2021: 34 (0.6 per 100K, 6.8% of all deaths in the season)

    During Minnesota’s deadliest flu season since 2013, from 2014–2015, 4,153 flu patients were hospitalized. There were 706 flu outbreaks in schools, and 10 children died.