Surge of Flu and RSV Push Many Hospitals to Their Limit as Winter Approaches
A wave of respiratory syncytial virus, combined with an early surge in flu cases, has pushed many US hospitals to their limit. The CDC reported that 27 states already have high or very high flu activity, which is not typical for this time of the year. The worst outbreaks have not yet reached many Northeast and Midwest states. Flu hospitalizations have not reached these levels this early in the year since the H1N1 (swine flu) pandemic of 2009. Pediatric hospitals and units are particularly overburdened, with some children forced to wait in the Emergency Room for an inpatient bed to open up. Currently more than 75% of pediatric beds in the US are occupied. However, staffing shortages have reduced capacity even further, bringing emergency departments to a “breaking point”. Earlier this month, more than two dozen national medical associations sounded the alarm about this crisis, calling for emergency assistance.
One of the best ways to avoid getting infected and hospitalized is receiving the flu shot. Infectious disease experts anticipate a new surge of COVID-19 at some point this winter. Other effective COVID-19 before meeting family and friends for the holidays, wearing high quality masks (N95 or KN95) in indoor public spaces and avoiding large crowds in confined spaces. Using just some of these safety measures collectively reduces our risk of hospitalization.