If it seems like everyone around you is getting sick, you can’t imagine it. Flu season is hitting the United States unusually early and much harder than usual.
“I’m scared of what’s going to happen this flu season because I don’t think we’ve ever seen a coalition of multiple viruses manifest in this way before,” said Dr Elizabeth Clayborne, emergency physician and associated. professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.
Carlos Waters | CNBC
Covid precautions have resulted in lower rates of flu-like illness compared to normal pre-pandemic times. But now that much of America has abandoned preventive measures such as masking, more and more people are falling ill with seasonal illnesses.
“All the mixing and transmission patterns of different viruses have really slowed down since this shutdown,” said Dr. Andrea Berry, associate professor of pediatrics and medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. “As the world has opened up, the usual patterns aren’t quite the same.”
One of these flu-like illnesses is respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, which is more severe in young children, the elderly, and immunocompromised people.
There have been more RSV cases reported in each week of October this year than any other week in the past two years, and doctors nationwide are sounding the alarm that hospitals are overwhelmed this season.
Much like RSV, flu cases began to rise earlier this year, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reporting at least 1,600,000 cases, 13,000 hospitalizations and 730 deaths as of October 29, which is high for this start. of a typical flu season.
Clayborne’s 2- and 4-year-olds both had RSV in late September, and her eldest daughter had to be taken to the emergency room for treatment.
Carlos Waters | CNBC
“I know that [the flu and RSV are] common and it seems a lot of kids get them,” Clayborne said. “But we see kids dying all the time, and usually it’s from respiratory complications.”
There is currently no federally approved vaccine to treat RSV, but Pfizer reported in early November that its RSV vaccine candidate in its Phase 3 trial, which was given to mothers during pregnancy, was effective at nearly 70% to protect severe symptoms in infants under 6 years of age. month.
Watch the video above to learn more about why this flu season is starting with a surge and what we can do about it.