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Everyone Is Sick Right Now

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If cold and flu season seems to be hitting your household harder this year, you’re not alone. This is the year when common viruses that took a backseat to Covid-19 finally return. Positive tests for the flu in the United States stood at 25 percent in late November, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, compared to 8 percent at the same time of year in 2019. Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) has pushed some children’s hospitals to capacity. And Covid hospitalizations are rising again. It’s the tripledemic that epidemiologists feared—those viruses, with the help of a few other seasonal recurring ones, are working together to fuel weeks of coughing, runny noses, and fevers. So if your kids, your coworkers, and everyone you know has been feeling sick, that’s why.

“This season is truly unprecedented,” says Katelyn Jetelina, who writes Your Local Epidemiologist, a newsletter about infectious disease spread. The high rates of flu-like illness could be an early peak or an early warning of a monumentally bad season. “How high it will go, and how severe it will be, is, unfortunately, something we have to wait and see,” she says. “We’re at the mercy of time.”

The problem goes beyond making everyone feel sluggish and icky. CDC director Rochelle Walensky has confirmed that the flu, RSV, and Covid are putting stress on US hospital systems. It’s the unintended consequence of measures that sought to save lives—social distancing and mask-wearing curbed the spread of flu and RSV in 2020 and 2021. (Although there was a warning sign in 2021 when RSV cases in the US had an out-of-season uptick over the summer, an indicator that things were shifting in the wake of Covid.) Now, these viruses are roaring back and hitting a burned-out healthcare system that’s spent three years treating Covid infections. 

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Photograph: Getty Images

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Click the link below for the article:

https://www.wired.com/story/everyone-is-sick-right-now/?utm_source=pocket_discover_health

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