44 countries have high levels of respiratory diseases
Respiratory illnesses are on the rise across the United States, with 44 states now experiencing high levels amid a worsening flu season.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported it 31 US jurisdictions, which include the territories and Washington, DC, had “very high” levels of respiratory illness, and 16 jurisdictions had “high” levels last week. Only 19 jurisdictions had very high levels, and 17 jurisdictions had high levels the previous week.
The figures include patients who have respiratory illness with fever and cough or sore throat, not necessarily laboratory-confirmed cases of influenza. Some patient records may be about other respiratory pathogens that cause illnesses with similar symptoms.
Nine jurisdictions had moderate levels of the disease in the week ending Nov. 19, but that fell to two last week as the number of places with high and very high levels grew.
Only New Hampshire, Vermont, Michigan, and Alaska have minimal or low levels of disease. West Virginia and Hawaii have moderate levels.
Eleven states, including California, Texas and Virginia, are experiencing the highest levels of respiratory disease activity.
The number of new cases of COVID-19 remained mostly stable in recent weeks to about 300,000 a day, but experts have warned of a “triple epidemic” facing the country and the world as COVID-19 drags on, flu cases rise and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) cases rise.
RSV is a common and typically mild virus, but millions of children they meet it’s the first time later in life than normal due to restrictions put in place amid the pandemic. Children are now heavily infected with the virus, causing many children’s hospitals to become overwhelmed with patients.
Health experts also warned that the US should expect a worse-than-usual flu season, as this winter will be the first in which many will resume normal activities. Flu rates were historically low during the pandemic, and people followed health guidelines by wearing masks and keeping their distance from others.
CDC data show that the percentage of outpatient visits for respiratory illnesses this season has significantly exceeded the percentage of any other season since at least 2017-2018.
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