The flu is definitely back
The flu virus is finally back seriously. Flu season activity is high across the US, and experts expect many more cases and hospitalizations will occur in the weeks ahead. One bright spot is that this year’s vaccines seem to be well suited to the current situation circulating influenza strainstherefore, they should provide valuable protection against viral infection.
On Monday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released the latest weekly findings from your the routine influenza surveillance program, which tracks both influenza-related hospitalizations and outpatient visits for influenza-like illness.
Based on these data, influenza activity is high to very high in 35 states and territories, particularly in eastern and southern regions of the country. The cumulative hospitalization rate at this point in the year (week 46) is also the highest since 2010.2011 flu season. Overall, the CDC estimates there have been at least 6.2 million illnesses, 53,000 hospitalizations and 2,900 deaths from the flu since October, including 12 confirmed pediatric deaths. And with plenty of holidays left to enjoy, these case numbers are only going to grow.
“We will likely see an increase in the coming weeks,” Lynnette Brammer, an epidemiologist and head of the CDC’s influenza surveillance team, told NBC news.
Since the arrival of covid-19 in late 2019, the flu has become much less common. Influenza was virtually non-existent during the winter of 2020-2021, while last winter’s flu season was strange but still much milder than usual. There are likely several reasons why the alleged “twin epidemic” involving influenza and covid-19 never occurred, including the recent speculations that respiratory viruses generally tend to crowd each other out. But the main factor behind it His disappearance is believed to be physical distancing precautions that many people have taken or voluntarily taken to limit the spread of covid, which may have worked even better at preventing less contagious diseases like the flu. These precautions have mostly weakened, and in turn many garden variety infections have returned.
For example, the US experienced stricter and earlier-from-the usual peak of respiratory syncytial virus or RSV infections this year. RSV usually causes a mild cold in most people, but it it can be life-threatening for young people children and elderly people. As a result of the increase, many children’s hospitals reported much higher levels of RSV-related hospitalizations than even those seen during the normal RSV season. There are some speculations that the infection through covid-19 has weakened children’s immune systems, making them more vulnerable to severe RSV, but many experts discuss that the decline of population immunity alone is sufficient to explain these waves.
Fortunately, there now appear to be cases of RSV slowdown in the USA. And while many people continue to get sick and die from covid-19, the threat of a huge increase coming this winter, as it has in the past remains low for now. We can even get relatively happy with the flu, as this year’s vaccine is a good match for most circulating flu strains, according to the CDC.
Of course, only because this winter will not be as bad as the last when it comes to respiratory diseases does not mean that we should ignore the reasonable Precautions. Getting an up-to-date covid-19 vaccination and annual flu shot will reduce your risk of suffering and severe complications from the snot this holiday season, and other measures like staying home when you’re sick or wearing masks in high-risk situations can help limit the spread of the flu , covid-19, RSV and other germs.