As Flu Season Begins, Other Illnesses Spread
This year’s flu season in the United States has gotten off to a rather early start, joining a slew of other diseases that have been clogging healthcare facilities before autumn began.
According to the CDC, hospitalization rates are the highest they have been this early since the 2009 swine flu pandemic, and flu activity is now widespread in 17 states. It is expected that 730 people have lost their lives to the flu so far, including at least two children.
Typically, the peak of the winter influenza season occurs in the months of December and January.
Dr. José Romero of the CDC said on Friday, “We are seeing more cases than we would predict at this time.”
We should anticipate a busy flu season. Despite two relatively mild flu seasons during the COVID-19 pandemic, researchers are concerned that the flu could make a comeback in a big way now that people are less likely to utilize masks and other preventative measures.
Due to the high number of kids absent due to the flu, Community Montessori School in New Albany, Indiana, opted to implement a virtual learning environment at the conclusion of the week. On Monday, all 500 of the school’s students will once again be required to wear masks.
Burke Fondren, the headmaster, remarked, “Everyone just wants kids on campus, that’s for sure.” We will take the necessary steps.
It’s possible that there’s good news: Romero has reported that the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 has decreased and stabilized over the past three weeks.
And in certain areas, health experts believe they are witnessing the beginning of the end for yet another respiratory virus outbreak. Common cold symptoms in children may be caused by RSV, or respiratory syncytial virus. Despite a nationwide increase, the CDC reports that rates of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection have been decreasing in the Southeast, the Southwest, and the region that encompasses the Rocky Mountain states and the Dakotas.
The recent uptick in RSV infections is likely due to the fact that children are no longer protected from common bugs as they were during pandemic lockdowns, making them more susceptible to infection. Further, the virus, which formerly only affected toddlers aged 1 and 2, is now being reported in children aged 5 and older.
The Comer Children’s Hospital at the University of Chicago Medicine has been at capacity for the past 54 days.
The chief medical officer of Comer, Dr. John Cunningham, has observed an upward trend in rates of respiratory syncytial virus and influenza.
The severity of RSV infections appears to be higher than typical, he said.
For lack of available beds, Comer has had to deny transfer requests from other facilities. Once able to send sick children to hospitals in Missouri, Iowa, and Wisconsin, the Chicago area’s medical facilities can no longer do so. Cunningham added, “They don’t have any more beds, either.”
Unfortunately, vaccines against RSV have yet to be developed; nevertheless, flu and COVID-19 vaccines are already available. Although immunization rates for youngsters are up from last year, they are down from before the pandemic.
An estimated 1.6 million cases of influenza and 13,000 hospitalizations have occurred so far this season. According to CDC statistics, the Southeast is one of the regions with the highest levels of flu activity while RSV declines there.
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texasstandard.news contributed to this report.