Two Michigan cities ranked among most at-risk in US for flu, influenza

Grand Rapids and Detroit have been listed as two of the 27 U.S. cities where the flu is at its most severe, according to the Doctors Report Illness Tracker app and website. 

The Doctors Report app reports in a news release it compiles its rankings using data from nearly one million doctors across the United States. It takes diagnosed and reported cases over the course of the past week and churns out a rating for each city. 

The Grand Rapids-Wyoming area is listed in the “very high” at-risk group and Metro Detroit can be found one rung below in the “high” at-risk group. 

The app uses a scale of 1 to 10 to rank the severity level of flu, with the entire U.S. scoring a 9.5 as of Thursday, Feb. 15. The Grand Rapids region scored the tied for the worst rating of 9.5,  and Metro Detroit came in with a 6.5 to put it at the bottom of the “high” at-risk group. 

Grand Rapids-Wyoming also found itself on the app’s “high” ranking for influenza severity with a score of 7.0. 

“DoctorsReport.com has developed a proprietary set of algorithms for gauging the severity of 15 common illnesses,” a news release from the app reads.

“The major factors that define the severity scale are: number of diagnosed and reported cases from actual doctors’ offices and comparisons to historical trends for the same area.”

As of last week, the U.S. government reported that the country was in the midst of its worst flu season since 2009. A government report released last week that during this season, at least one out of every 13 visits to the doctor’s office was for flu symptoms, a cough or fever. 

The Doctors Report Illness Tracker isn’t the only app aimed at informing the public during flu season as the Sickweather app uses social media posts to track the spread of illness. The Sickweather app will find any publicly posted status updates of “I’m sick,” “my son is sick” or “I can’t stop coughing” to update its illness map.