Healthline: Flu and RSV cases are rising, here's when they may peak

UC expert says COVID-19 cases are up, but hospitalizations are down

Cases of respiratory illnesses, including the flu, COVID, and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), are spreading rapidly across the United states.

The latest influenza report report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released Friday shows that, in the past week, over 20,000 people were admitted to the hospital with the flu.

In a story on the topic posted by Healthline, Carl Fichtenbaum, MD, of the Division of Infectious Diseases at the UC College of Medicine was one of several experts interviewed.

Fichtenbaum says influenza was abnormally quiet in 2020, 2021, and even throughout 2022.

In the late 2022 and early 2023 flu season, the virus came back with a vengeance, and triggered a surge in cases and hospitalizations, he says.

Flu-like activity is currently high in two-thirds of the country, which is greater than what the country saw this time last year, according to the CDC.

Dr. Fichtenbaum and Jassiel HIV study in lab.

Carl Fichtenbaum, MD, of the Division of Infectious Diseases at the UC College of Medicine/ Photo/Colleen Kelley/UC Marketing + Brand

Healthline reported that we can usually predict what the Northern Hemisphere’s flu season will be like by looking at what recently transpired in the Southern Hemisphere.

Australia’s flu season runs from May to October, for example, and they recently saw a 13.5% increase in cases over the past year.

“We may expect something similar in the U.S. The peak will likely be late January or February,” Fichtenbaum said.

Though COVID-19 activity is increasing, hospitalizations are down compared to 2022, according to Fichtenbaum.

“This is due to widespread immunity from those that already have gotten COVID before and vaccine immunity,” he said.

It’s unclear when this COVID-19 wave will begin to dip, as it appears it has not yet peaked. RSV, on the other hand, may have just hit its peak as activity is slowly dropping. That said, RSV activity is still high and many states have reported an influx in hospitalizations following the holidays.

“The peak last year was late November 2022. And this year looks like it will be late December or January for the peak,” says Fichtenbaum.

Read entire story here.  

Lead image/Roos Koole/Getty Images

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