Flu cases are higher than in a decade, and COVID-19 cases are up since Thanksgiving.
So, this could be a rough season for respiratory infections — even as the spread of Respiratory syncytial virus seems to be calming down, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.
“This year’s flu season is off to a rough start,” Sandra Fryhofer, MD, board chair of the American Medical Association, said at a CDC press conference. “Flu is here. It started early, and with COVID and RSV also circulating, it’s a perfect storm for a terrible holiday season.”
Flu cases almost doubled in the week ending Nov. 27 from the prior week, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. About 78,000 people have been hospitalized with the flu since the start of flu season in October.
The CDC says there might have been 8.7 million cases already this season, compared to 9 million cases for the entire 2021-22 flu season.
Deaths are up, as well — 4,500 so far this season, up from 5,000 last season.
NBC News reported that the number of average daily COVID-19 cases is up 16% in two weeks, and the CDC said there as an 18% increase in daily COVID hospitalizations from the week ending Nov. 22 to the week ending Nov. 29.
Some good news: Respiratory syncytial virus cases have peaked or leveled off in various parts of the country, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, MD, said.
From Nov. 12 to Nov. 26, RSV cases fell from 19,000 a week to 7,500.
With holiday travel coming up again, Walensky suggested wearing masks for people who are traveling, people who are immunocompromised, and people who live in counties with high COVID-19 rates.
NBC News: “RSV cases may be peaking, CDC says, but flu hospitalizations remain at a decade high”