The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is anticipating that this year winter respiratory disease season could result in 100,000 hospitalizations.
The pandemic curbed cases of seasonal flu and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) but this year experts have said all three sicknesses are in full circulation.
Latest figures from the CDC show that RSV infections and flu activity are climbing, as COVID hospitalizations appear to be seeing an uptick.
Dr. Yvonne Maldonado, a pediatric infectious-disease specialist at Stanford Medicine Children’s Health, told WSJ that this is likely to be the ‘new normal.’
Latest figures from the CDC show that RSV infections and flu activity are climbing, as COVID hospitalizations appear to be seeing an uptick
The pandemic had disrupted the spread of seasonal flu and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), but all three are now circulating again
The CDC developed two hypothetical scenarios for the season, which have illustrated how COVID during a moderate season will increase hospital demand and could potentially result in further strains.
This would be far greater than a severe influenza and RSV season before COVID began to spread across the globe.
The CDC did add that while they cannot predict the precise timing and impact of these three pathogens each season, these are two plausible scenarios for this year.
In the first scenario, the CDC combined a past season peak for influenza and RSV with a moderate COVID-19 wave but staggered the peak of the three viruses for this year.
This scenario shows that the peak is higher than the level of a previous severe season of influenza and RSV combined.
In the other scenario, they again combined a past season peak for influenza and RSV with a moderate COVID-19 wave but instead of staggering the peaks, they all occurred at the same time.
In this case, the hospitalization rate was similar to that of the of COVID hospitalization rate in the 2022-2023 season, when the virus was rampant.
The CDC developed two hypothetical scenarios for the season, which have illustrated how COVID during a moderate season will increase hospital demand
The CDC said that high immunization uptake could reduce the number of hospitalizations substantially.
Despite their own predictions, the CDC said it was difficult to predict the size and timing of peak activity for each disease, as well as how the timing might overlap.
RSV is increasingly becoming recognized as a cause of severe respiratory disease in older adults.
An estimated 60,000–160,000 RSV-associated hospitalizations and 6,000–10,000 RSV-associated deaths occur each year among adults aged 65 years and over.
Dr Bill Messer, an infectious diseases expert in Oregon, previously warned of the rising cases
While COVID isn’t killing people, as it once did, it still remains the deadliest of the three – largely due to it being around all year as opposed to season specific.
‘There’s a social burden to having emergency rooms fill up with coughing and sneezing people,’ Kizzmekia Corbett-Helaire, an immunologist and infectious-disease expert at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health told WSJ.
‘Adding another virus to that pool can make that worse.’
‘There’s one more virus out there for you to get. Your risk of getting sick has probably gone up,’ Justin Lessler, an infectious-disease epidemiologist at the University of North Carolina added.
Covid cases rose in eight states last week, according to CDC data.
And analyses of wastewater suggests that infections are on the rise nationwide.
Meanwhile, COVID hospital admissions hit 16,000 in the week of November 11, compared to almost 15,000 the previous week.
Although this is well below the 24,000 recorded at the same time last year, CDC data also shows flu cases are rising nationwide and in seven states.
Vaccines have been made available for all three respiratory illnesses for those aged six months and up, but uptake is not as high as experts had hoped
The common virus can be deadly for those with chronic conditions, killing up to 52,000 Americans every year.
The latest warning about the flu season comes after Dr Bill Messer, a molecular biologist in Oregon, warned there was a ‘kind of triple threat’ emerging.
He has urged people to consider face masks in crowded locations and to avoid touching their noses and mouths.
Messer has also encouraged all Americans to get vaccinated against all three viruses.
Vaccines have been made available for all three respiratory illnesses for those aged six months and up however uptake is not as high as experts had hoped.
Latest data showed about 65 percent of adults have not yet had a flu shot while the figure for children sits are about 70 percent.
Estimates suggest about 20 percent of US adults have also come forward for the updated COVID vaccine which was made available in September.
Just 14 percent of Americans aged over 60 have had an RSV vaccine.