As the holidays draw near, health professionals grow worried about the potential spread of Covid-19, dubbing it a “tripledemic.”
While the United States announced the end of Covid-19, experts think humans are still vulnerable to other risks. Many old and emerging respiratory pathogens require constant surveillance. Some, they claim, become hostile when they locate a host.
These infections have mutated and may cause more severe adverse effects in an infected person. Furthermore, meeting at Thanksgiving allows these infections to spread and enter diverse 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 officials, many ancient pathogens have returned to the population. For example, early this year, healthcare institutions saw unprecedented growth in respiratory syncytial virus or RSV. The virus targeted newborns and younger people who lacked protection.
Many pediatric hospitals around the country are still concerned about RSV’s recurrence. And many parents stay in hospitals longer to wait for their sick children.
“Intensive care units are at or above capacity in every children’s hospital in the United States. 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 and its risks
Every week, the number of flu cases in the United States climbed. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also issued warnings regarding the increased flu and other respiratory disorders.
And the CDC becomes increasingly anxious as the country enters the holiday season, which begins on Thanksgiving. More individuals will fly from coast to coast, carrying the flu and other illnesses.
“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.
More Covid-19 subvariants pose risks
The United States repulsed the initial Covid attack. New varieties, however, have developed. According to research, these variations are more resilient than previous ones. As a result, the CDC and WHO watchfully check for emerging omicron variations that may outperform the fatal effects of previous COVID-19 variants.
“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.
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