There's been a big jump in the number of people who've died from the new H1N1 swine flu.
Last week the pediatric death count between late April and mid-October stood at 129. This week it's 540 deaths, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates.
But the flu hasn't gotten more deadly, NPR's Joanne Silberner tells us, it's that the government's estimates have been tweaked.
What changed? Well, the new estimate was derived from same data sources--tallies by select doctors and hospitals. But the CDC is now factoring in deaths that may not be explicitly identified as due to swine flu. Sometimes a a flu test isn't done, or it's wrong, or the death is attributed to a different infection that came after the flu.
In its latest estimates, CDC give ranges for the total number of deaths and cases. The total flu death estimate for adults between 18 and 64 is 2,900, an estimate in the broader range of 1,900 to 4,600. Likewise, among people 65 and older, there have been 440 deaths, about the midpoint of a range from 300 to 700.
The total count of how many people have been infected by the new virus is now 22 million, which includes 8 million children under the age of 18. The range? That would be 14 million to 34 million.