Briefly

Two-wave flu season hits U.S.

NEW YORK (AP) — Three months ago, this flu season was shaping up to be short and mild in the U.S. But a surprising second viral wave has made it the longest in 10 years.

This flu season has been officially going for 21 weeks, according to reports collected through last week and released Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That makes it among the longest seen since the government started tracking flu season duration more than 20 years ago.

Some experts likened the unusual double waves to having two different flu seasons compressed, back-to-back, into one.

“I don’t remember a season like this,” said Dr. Arnold Monto, a University of Michigan researcher who had been studying respiratory illnesses for more than 50 years.

The previous longest recent flu season was 20 weeks, which occurred in 2014-2015.

Biden expected to launch bid

WASHINGTON (AP) — Former Vice President Joe Biden is expected to join the crowded 2020 Democratic presidential field next week.

The decision answers one of the most significant outstanding questions of the early presidential primary season, which has already seen announcements from 18 other Democrats. Biden, 76, would be the most experienced politician in the race, and the second oldest, after 77-year-old Bernie Sanders.

His plans were confirmed by three people with knowledge of them. They were not authorized to discuss the plans publicly and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity. The announcement is expected as early as Wednesday and would cap months of deliberation over his political future.

Already, supportive donors have begun trying to raise money on his behalf.

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