The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a news release that in 2016, there were 1.2 million cases of acute respiratory infections and 1.1 million deaths.
That’s an increase of nearly 40 percent from 2015.CDC Chief Tom Frieden said the spike in deaths and infections in the United States was caused by the opioid epidemic, which has driven more than 1.4 million people to the emergency room.
“These numbers are even higher now than they were before the epidemic, when the number of people who died of chronic, preventable conditions was even higher,” Frieden told reporters Tuesday.
“We can all thank the people who have been able to take care of each other during this epidemic,” he added.
Frieden said that while the increase in deaths caused by acute respiratory illnesses is worrisome, he hopes that the spike will be over within a few months.
“I am hopeful that it will come to an end by the end of this year, and hopefully we will have fewer of these cases in the coming months,” he said.