(CNBC) – Flu seasons have been particularly severe in recent years and this one in no different. An estimated 6.2 million to 7.3 million people in the United States have been sick with the flu since October, federal health officials said Friday. At least half of those people have sought medical care for their illness and 69,000 to 84,000 people have been hospitalized during the Oct. 1 to Jan. 5 period, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated.

This is the first time the CDC has provided such flu estimates for the 2018-2019 season. The estimates are extrapolated from data from about 27 million people, or about 8.5 percent of the U.S. population, federal health officials said. The CDC wouldn’t provide data on how many people have died from flu-like illness so far this season, adding it will do so once “there is sufficient data to support a more precise estimate for that outcome.” READ MORE