As the holidays kick in, health experts grow concerned about the possible proliferation of Covid-19, calling it a ‘tripledemic.’
While the United States declared the end of Covid-19, scientists say people face several threats other than Covid-19. Many old and new respiratory pathogens need close monitoring. According to them, some become aggressive when they find a host.
These pathogens have evolved and could pose more potent side effects to an afflicted individual. And gathering during Thanksgiving will give these pathogens a chance to spread and penetrate different age groups.
“We’re facing an onslaught of three viruses — COVID, RSV and influenza. All simultaneously. We’re calling this a tripledemic,” said Vanderbilt University infectious disease specialist Dr. William Schaffner.
According to health agencies, many old pathogens returned to the community. For instance, health facilities recorded an unusual spike in the respiratory syncytial virus or RSV earlier this year. The virus infected babies and younger individuals who bore no immunity.
The resurgence of the RSV still troubles many pediatric institutions across the country. And many parents stay for longer hours inside hospitals to wait for their children infected with the virus.
“Intensive care units are at or above capacity in every children’s hospital in the United States right now. So it’s very, very scary for parents,” said Amy Knight, the Children’s Hospital Association president.
“Influenza has hit the southeastern United States. Then, it moved into the Southwest. Then, it’s going up the East Coast and into the Midwest with some ferocity,” Schaffner added.
The tripledemic intensifies
Flu cases across the nation increased in numbers every week. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also raised alarms due to the spike in flu and other respiratory diseases. And the CDC grows concerned as the country approaches the holiday season, starting at Thanksgiving.
More people will travel from coast to coast, causing the flu and other viruses to proliferate.
“Flu activity is high right now and continuing to increase. The good news is that the vaccines this year are well-matched to the currently circulating viruses, and there is still time to get vaccinated,” said CDC’s influenza division epidemiologist Lynnette Brammer.
“These holiday celebrations, with all their travel and close contact, usually function as virus accelerators. We’re spending a lot of time with each other. We’re laughing and breathing deeply. And that’s an ideal environment for these respiratory viruses to spread to others,” Schaffner warned.
Covid-19 subvariants are taking over
The US defeated the initial onslaught of Covid. However, new variants have emerged. And according to studies, these variants prove more robust than the past ones.
Therefore, the CDC and the World Health Organization keep a close eye on new omicron variants which could surpass the fatal effects of older variants of COVID-19.
“What is this all going to mean for COVID? Will we see a January/February resurgence of COVID that will be fairly significant? That may yet be coming,” said Dr. David Rubin from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
“I’m hopeful, given where we are with COVID, that we’re not looking at something like last winter. But at the end of the day, Mother Nature gets the final word on these things,” added Dr. Ashish Jha, the Covid019 coordinator of the White House.
Photo Credit: Science Source/ NIAID