MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Bad as it may seem, this flu season doesn’t rank among the most severe.

According to Dr. Michael Osterholm, an infectious disease expert at the University of Minnesota, the magnitude of the current outbreak has been blown out of proportion.

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“I think the media has actually overplayed what’s happening here,” Osterholm said. “This is not that severe of an influenza year.”

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Osterholm is also the former state epidemiologist and has seen several decades’ worth of flu seasons.

“This is surely not done yet. We’re going to have more cases. But…this is really what I’d call a moderate to moderately severe year. It’s not a real severe year,” he said.

As for the reports of health care systems being overwhelmed, Osterholm says we’ve taken nearly all surge capacity out of our hospitals so even a slight bump in activity causes the systems to be stretched.

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Twenty-seven people have died of complications from the flu in Minnesota so far this season.