Flu Season May Be Peaking: CDC Data
New case numbers on the "historically bad" U.S. influenza season indicates it may be reaching a peak. The Washington Post notes that the current "viral siege" has left some people sick for weeks on end. Other outlets cover more news on RSV, flu, and covid matters.
America's Historically Bad Flu Season May Be Peaking
The U.S. has been pummeled by respiratory illness, including a harsher flu season than we've seen in years. But new data indicates the outbreak may be peaking. The CDC estimates there have been at least 13 million illnesses, 120,000 hospitalizations and 7,300 deaths, including 21 pediatric deaths, from the seasonal flu. (Reed, 12/16)
The Washington Post:
How A Viral Siege Is Making Some People Sick For Weeks, Even Months
It started in mid-September with Vance, 5, who came down with RSV and wheezed so badly that his skin was pulling in and out of his ribs with every breath. His little brother Banks, then 11 months old, caught it too. Things were just starting to get better in October, when the boys caught a nasty cold that resulted in more sleepless nights. In November, the flu hit, bringing fevers of 102 degrees. “It feels like a never-ending cycle,” said their mom, Michelle Huber of Louisville. “We are beyond exhausted.” (Cha, 12/15)
More on the surge of covid, flu, and RSV —
Nebraska Public Media:
Midwest Hospitals Struggling Find Beds For Kids Amid 'Tripledemic'
Multiple Nebraska hospitals are struggling to care for all the sick people walking into their emergency departments. Similar to the omicron and delta COVID-19 waves last winter that crippled emergency rooms, hospitals are currently leaning on nearby states to get medical care for patients. This winter, capacity is especially slim for pediatric patients who are coming down with respiratory viruses. (Ourada, 12/15)
Children's Hospitals Are Struggling To Cope With A Surge Of Respiratory Illness
Waiting for their turn in the ER, dazed-looking parents in winter coats bounce crying children in their arms, trying to catch the eye of Dr. Erica Michiels. Us! Pick us next! they seem to plead with tired eyes. Michiels directs pediatric emergency medicine at Corewell Health Helen DeVos Children's Hospital in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Lips pressed together in a thin line, she surveys what she calls the "disaster" area. (Wells, 12/15)
Tamiflu: Is The In-Demand Flu Treatment Safe To Take?
A study out of Vanderbilt University Medical Center is set to explore the neurological impact of the flu treatment. According to researchers, some flu patients have experienced “neuropsychiatric symptoms, such as behavior changes, hallucinations, and even attempted suicide,” says the VUMC Reporter. However, it’s unknown whether the symptoms are the result of the infection itself or Tamiflu. (Payton, 12/14)
Los Angeles Times:
California Has Plenty Of Anti-COVID Drugs, But Few Prescriptions
With California staring down the triple threat posed by the coronavirus, RSV and flu, health officials are urging the wider use of anti-COVID drugs to help prevent people from falling seriously ill and keep them out of the hospital. (Lin II and Money, 12/15)
Is COVID A Common Cold Yet?
Now, nearly three years into the crisis, the virus is more familiar, and its symptoms are too. Put three sick people in the same room this winter—one with COVID, another with a common cold, and the third with the flu—and “it’s way harder to tell the difference,” Chavez told me. Today’s most common COVID symptoms are mundane: sore throat, runny nose, congestion, sneezing, coughing, headache. (Wu, 12/15)
Drugmakers Seek New Standards For Covid Antibody Drugs
Biotech executives and a handful of academics pleaded with U.S. and European regulators on Thursday to adopt new standards for approving antibody drugs against Covid, particularly for immunocompromised and other vulnerable patients. (Mast, 12/15)
California To End Mandatory Pay For Workers With COVID
California will stop making companies pay employees who can’t work because they caught the coronavirus while on the job. For the past two years, California workplace regulators have tried to slow the spread of the coronavirus by requiring infected workers to stay home while also guaranteeing them they would still be paid. But Thursday, the California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board voted to end that rule in 2023 — in part because the rule has become harder to enforce. (Beam, 12/15)