Early flu, RSV concerning ahead of holidays


Health officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are referring to this fall as a ‘viral jambalaya’ as the flu, RSV, or respiratory syncytial virus, and the latest strain of COVID challenge communities and hospitals nationwide. More than half of all states have high or very high levels of flu, unusually high for this early in the season, the government reported last Friday. Those 27 states are mostly in the South and Southwest but states in the Northeast, Midwest and West are not far behind.
South Dakota appears to still be at a low rate of transmission according to the latest transmission maps, despite many of us knowing or caring for someone who is sick right now, or being sick ourselves. Daycares across the county in particular have struggled to prevent the spread of RSV amongst their youngest children in recent weeks.
The American Academy of Pediatrics and Children’s Hospital Association is urging the Biden administration to declare an emergency and mount a national response to “the alarming surge of pediatric respiratory illnesses.” Such a declaration would allow waivers of Medicaid, Medicare or Children’s Health Insurance Program requirements so that doctors and hospitals could share resources and access emergency funding.
The winter flu season usually doesn’t get going until December or January. Hospitalization rates from flu haven’t been this high this early since the 2009 swine flu pandemic, CDC officials say. The highest rates are among those 65 and older and children under 5, the agency reported this past week.
One infectious disease specialist urged Americans to take precautions before gathering for Thanksgiving, including avoiding public crowds, getting COVID-19 tests before they meet, and wearing masks indoors — particularly if you are old or frail, or will be around someone who is.

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