With the sudden rise of Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), COVID-19 and flu cases, some experts are calling this season a ‘Tripledemic.’ While these illnesses have been around for a couple years, this winter is the worst it has been. “With increased RSV infections, a rising number of flu cases and the ongoing burden of COVID-19 in our communities, there’s no doubt we will face some challenges this winter,” said Dawn O’Connell, Assistant Health and Human Service Secretary for Preparedness and Response.
Last year, the practice of wearing masks and social distancing ensured a decrease in the spread of these illnesses, but this year, the effect of these strong variants of diseases are being felt by the public. Jose Romero, Director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Disease said, “We’re seeing the highest influenza hospital admission rates for a decade.”
RSV is a respiratory infection that typically affects children younger than two suffering flu and COVID-19 symptoms. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it also is not abnormal for RSV to be followed by other severe infections like bronchiolitis and pneumonia. RSV is one of the leading causes of hospitalization for young children, along with senior citizens. RSV has affected the South and the Rocky Mountains area so far, but cases are rising globally.
According to The New York Times, in the recent months, COVID-19 has been flat nationally, until the past few weeks. The cases are slowly rising, which experts think indicates increases are coming soon. Cases are also rising because of the different evolving sub-variants of Omicron.
Influenza is not a new disease, but it is the worst it has been in 13 years. According to the CDC, there have been an estimated 880,000 lab-confirmed cases and about 6,900 hospitalizations so far in the season.
In order to help prevent illness, the CDC recommends, “to stay up to date on your vaccinations. Both the yearly influenza vaccine and updated COVID-19 vaccine are essential to make sure you and your family are protected.”
Additionally with the upcoming holiday season, it is recommended to be especially careful by doing small things, such as washing your hands and wearing a mask if traveling.
If a person is sick, it is urged that they stay home in order to protect those surrounding them. As more people get vaccinated, doctors hope for the cases to decrease, but they know it is only the beginning of the season.