Rising Respiratory Threats: Beyond COVID-19, Flu and RSV Surge to Forefront with Alarming Hospitalization Rates

Written by Henrik Rothen

Jan.08 - 2024 7:46 PM CET

Photo: Shutterstock.com
Photo: Shutterstock.com
Beyond COVID-19, Flu and RSV Surge to Forefront with Alarming Hospitalization Rates.

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According to the latest data, the United States has seen a continuous increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations for eight consecutive weeks.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported about 35,000 new hospitalizations in the week ending December 30, marking a 20% rise from the previous week. Additionally, COVID-19 deaths and emergency department visits have been increasing, with a nearly 13% rise in the most recent data.

JN.1: A Dominant and Transmissible Strain

According to The Messenger, The JN.1 variant, now the predominant strain in the U.S., accounts for 61% of active cases. It has rapidly increased from a mere 3% presence when it was first detected two months ago.

Experts believe JN.1 to be more transmissible and efficient at evading immunity compared to previous strains, although it hasn't led to new symptoms or more severe infections.

While the current hospitalization numbers are alarming, they are still lower than the figures reported during the same period in the previous two years.

Rising Cases of Flu and RSV

However, it's not just COVID that people are being hospitalized for at the moment. There is a significant rise in flu and RSV cases, surpassing COVID in some areas. The flu season has already resulted in about 10 million illnesses, 110,000 hospitalizations, and 6,500 deaths since October.

Mask Mandates in New York and Chicago

In response to this onslaught of respiratory viruses, many health facilities, including hospitals in New York City and Chicago, have reinstated mask mandates on their premises.