Americans are facing a winter of a “tripledemic” featuring a combination of COVID-19, influenza, and the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), according to a New York Times report citing “experts.”
The report pointed out that the more than three years of the coronavirus pandemic with its “social distancing and “mask-wearing” has given Americans a “reprieve from common viral illnesses” such as flu.
However, it cautioned that this “could change” with rising travel and fewer pandemic measures.
Thus, experts expect an increase in COVID-19 infections and a flu surge. That is combined with the spread of RSV, which has affected children all over the nation – hence the “tripledemic.”
Even though most cases of the coronavirus, influenza, and RSV are predicted to be mild, there is the possibility that people could be getting two or all three of those simultaneously.
According to “experts,” such cases could inundate hospitals meaning the “tripledemic” is “uncharted territory.”
“We’re seeing everything come back with a vengeance,” said Dr. Alpana Waghmare, a pediatrician and infectious disease expert at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center.
“As of today, we are seeing equal numbers of COVID, flu, and RSV, and that’s really concerning because we are very early for flu and RSV activity. It’s going to be a rough winter,” said, in turn, Dr. Diego Hijano from St. Jude’s Research Hospital, another pediatric infectious disease expert.
The NYT emphasized experts insisted that COVID-19 and flu vaccines offered “the best protection against severe illness” even if that “may not prevent infection.”
The report argued that everybody should ensure they are “up to date with vaccines” while noting that no RSV vaccine is available.
It noted vulnerable groups such as older adults, the immunocompromised, pregnant women, and children should all be vaccinated.
The NYT also noted that the winter, winding down in the Southern Hemisphere, saw a “particularly bad” influenza epidemic.
“They had a very bad flu season, a severe flu season with about three times their normal level of the flu. So, there is reason to think it could be a worse flu season than typical here,” said Dr. Lawrence Madoff, a director at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.
Data from the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases shows that “only” 49% of Americans and Canadians plan on getting a flu vaccine in the 2022-2023 season.
The report then stressed that since the “standard” flu vaccine was only about 40% effective in infection prevention, researchers were already working on a flu shot with the mRNA technology used in making the COVID-19 vaccines.
“This could be a game changer for how we treat the flu in the future,” said Dr. Jennifer Wang, a UMass Chan Medical School professor and one of the vaccine researchers.
Infectious disease experts warn that we are headed for a trifecta of illnesses this winter. After two years of wearing masks and practicing social distancing, Americans have had a reprieve from common viral illnesses, especially influenza.
— Newsmax (@newsmax) October 24, 2022