Respiratory virus activity is high and rising across the United States, CDC data shows

CNN — As seasonal virus activity surges across the United States, experts stress the importance of preventive measures – such as masking and vaccination – and the value of treatment for those who do get sick. Tens of thousands of people have been admitted to hospitals for respiratory illness each week this season. During the week ending December 23, there were more than 29,000 patients admitted with Covid-19, about 15,000 admitted with the flu and thousands more with respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, according to data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nationally, Covid-19 levels in wastewater, a leading measure of viral transmission, are very high – higher than they were at this time last year in every region, CDC data shows. Weekly emergency department visits rose 12%, and hospitalizations jumped about 17% in the most recent week. Covid-19 variant JN.1 is now the leading cause of infections in the US. Here’s what you need to know And while Covid-19 remains the leading driver of respiratory virus hospitalizations, flu activity is rising rapidly. The CDC estimates that there have been more than 7 million illnesses, 73,000 hospitalizations and 4,500 deaths related to the flu this season, and multiple indicators are high and rising. RSV activity is showing signs of slowing in some parts of the US, but many measures, including hospitalization rates, remain elevated. Overall, young children and older adults are most affected. “It’s a wave of winter respiratory pathogens, especially respiratory viruses. So it’s Covid, it’s flu, and we can’t diminish the importance of RSV,” said Dr. Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at the Baylor College of Medicine. “So it’s a triple threat, and arguably a fourth threat because we also have pneumococcal pneumonia, which complicates a lot of these […]

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