The flu has officially reached epidemic proportions in the United States. According to a weekly report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 47 states across the nation are reporting “widespread flu activity.” On the bright side, the CDC also reports it appears the epidemic may be at its peak, and that this year’s flu vaccine is about 62 percent effective. Of all U.S. regions, only the Southwest is exhibiting “normal” flu conditions. The CDC says 7.3 percent of all deaths last week were from pneumonia flu, just above the epidemic threshold of 7.2 percent. New York City and Boston are being hit particularly hard in what is being called the worst flu epidemic to sweep the nation in more than a decade.