"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

COVID, flu rates rise nationwide, but RSV could have peaked

December 4, 2023 – COVID-19 appears to be headed for a vacation surge in most parts of the country. More and more persons are testing positive, going to the emergency room for treatment, and being hospitalized with severe symptoms. The significant increase follows a comparatively quiet fall for COVID and comes at a time when other respiratory illnesses just like the flu are also surging.

One in ten COVID tests reported to the CDC were positive within the week ending November 25, a rise of 9% in comparison with the previous two weeks. COVID was diagnosed in nearly 2% of emergency department visits, which, while low overall, represents an 11% increase from the previous week. COVID hospitalizations reached nearly 20,000 within the week ending Nov. 25, a ten% increase.

According to the CDC, COVID is especially increasing within the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. Nationwide, rates have been rising for what health officials commonly call respiratory illness, meaning having a fever and either a cough or a sore throat. The CDC even recently highlighted some isolated but surprisingly high rates lung infection in children, noting that pediatric inpatient beds are nearing capability levels seen last yr when respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) overwhelmed some pediatric wards.

According to the info, as of November 25, roughly 74% of inpatient child beds nationwide were occupied CDC data, approaching the 2022 level of 80% around the identical time. However, the most recent RSV numbers suggest the country isn’t headed for one more RSV nightmare season. RSV rates skyrocketed in mid-November this yr, reaching over 9,000 reported cases statewide, but last week's number is down by about 1,000 positive tests.

CDC Director Mandy Cohen, MD, MPH, said The Associated Press that “we believe we are nearing the peak of the RSV season or will be in the next week or so.”

Meanwhile, flu rates are rising, with a statewide test positivity rate of 6% and 4,268 hospitalizations within the week ending Nov. 25. Eight children have died from flu-related causes thus far this season, as have about 1,100 adults, in keeping with the CDC's latest flu summary.

“Seasonal influenza activity continues to increase in most parts of the country, particularly in the South Central, Southeast, Mountain and West Coast regions,” the agency wrote in its weekly FluView Publication.

The CDC recommends that folks 6 months and older get vaccinated against each flu and COVID. About 38% of kids and adults have gotten the flu shot this yr, with the speed amongst people age 65 and older at 62%. About 7% of U.S. children have received the most recent COVID vaccine. Among adults, 16% have received the now seasonal COVID vaccination, while amongst seniors the figure is as much as 33%. The CDC named these current vaccination rates “low.”