We've noticed a lot of sniffling going on around us recently. And it seems like every third of fourth tweet we've read on Twitter from people around the Capital Region includes some reference to sickness.
Coincidence or has "the sick" really taken over?
The first place we checked was the New York State Department of Health. It tracks reports of "influenza-like illness" each season (it passes this data along the CDC). NYSDOH's latest report (week ending Feb 14) indicates that influenza activity is "widespread" in New York State and has been for the last few weeks.
graph: NYS DOH
OK, but that declaration is based on official reports. What are the teeming (sickly) masses reporting? Let's consult The Google.
Google's been tracking search terms related to flu activity at the aptly-named Google Flu Trends. It's currently reporting that influenza-related search volume is pretty much at its peak right now in New York State (graph at the top of this post).
Mark another one down for "the sick." But what about here in the Capital Region specifically?
Google Trends lets us dig into that a little bit.
+ Search volume for "flu" has been trending up in New York State during 2009. And the number one city for that activity? Albany.
+ "Sick" has been holding steady (Albany ranks #3 for on that list).
+ And over the last 30 days, Albany holds the #2 spot in New York State for "pharmacy" searches, right behind Buffalo.
The Bottom Line
There's pretty good evidence that something's going around. Wash your hands. Get some sleep. And, um, no, we really don't need to shake hands.
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