Respiratory Viruses Surging

As the holidays come to an end, seasonal viruses are the gift that keeps on giving — so much so that mask requirements are returning to some hospitals in hopes of  preventing their spread. On Dec. 29, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that respiratory illness (fever plus cough or sore throat) is driving manye to seek medical attention, and is increasing in most areas of the country.

COVID-19 viral transmission levels are higher than this time last year in every region of the country, with most being in the Midwest. Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is still an issue in seniors, and flu numbers continue to climb. So far, the CDC estimates that there have been more than 7 million flu cases, with 73,000 hospitalizations and 4,500 deaths related to the flu. Multiple indicators are on the rise.

“It’s a wave of winter respiratory pathogens, especially respiratory viruses. So it’s COVID, it’s flu, and we can’t diminish the importance of RSV,” Peter Hotez, MD, Dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at the Baylor College of Medicine, told CNN. “So it’s a triple threat, and arguably a fourth threat because we also have pneumococcal pneumonia, which complicates a lot of these virus infections.” He also noted that the  CDC’s report included numbers just prior to the end-of-year holiday period. Many people get together during that period, so the amount of people with viruses could go up even further.

For those not yet vaccinated (or boosted), now is the time!