The CDC influenza mapping follows a color system that trends from low case levels colored in greens through yellows and reds to highs in deep purple. The mid-Atlantic region is deep purple. It is at the very highest influenza activity level CDC tracks. It’s not alone in its high levels, though, with Texas a single step down, and the rest of the South one lower – but all in what is considered “very high.”
While the graduated influenza levels then follow typical seasonal trends moving northward with much of the Northwest still in the green, the levels are significantly higher than this same time last year. In fact, positive cases in the U.S have spiked higher than any point last year, with many locations reporting flu-related deaths.
At the same time, RSV is continuing to spread and COVID is beginning to trend higher, in what we predicted to be a seasonal endemic rise. What has changed with COVID is that there seems to be no overly dominant variant, rather, the tracking is showing a mixture of subvariants. Interestingly, however, we are not seeing rises in COVID and flu in the same areas, rather, some have higher flu and lower COVID, with others seeing the opposite. Overall, the infectious diseases are doing just what TAG anticipated and foretold: cases are rising as the weather cools and seasonal trends continue. We do not, however, recommend any major changes in behavior, rather, continuing to ensure that workers with any easily transmissible disease stay home. In areas where influenza or COVID transmission is high, continuing policies that support voluntary employee masking is also encouraged. We also see the rise in infected children likely being an outcome of reduced immunity due to the amount of time all were subject to stay-at-home orders. Thus, any drastic changes (e.g., closing schools) would simply exacerbate and extend that.
COVID Risk Matrix:
Infectious Disease News
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is warning doctors and hospitals to prepare for a big jump in respiratory viruses already affecting many areas of the country. A 13-year-old boy has died of influenza, marking the first death relating to the virus in Cuyahoga County in Ohio. The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare confirms the first influenza-related death of the 2022-2023 flu season. The Orange County, CA area just declared a health emergency due to the rapidly increasing infection rate of the flu.
- Because of rapid increases in measles cases, health officials in India are conducting door to door surveillance. East African countries have seen an unprecedented momentum of measles, which are presumed to have begun in early June. South Africa is also seeing large increases in measles cases.
- Paxlovid was developed to reduce symptoms and hospitalization rates for COVID-19. A new study from the Veterans Health Administration suggests that taking the medication may lessen the risk of developing long COVID. Patients that took Paxlovid were 26% less likely to develop long COVID.
- US flu levels climb as RSV swamps kids’ hospitals. As flu activity has been increasing from week to week lately, RSV has done the same. The combination of both illnesses has now led to overwhelmed pediatric hospitals in some states.
- Pharmacy shelves are empty as Ontario is hit hard by nationwide medication shortage. With the shortage, Canada has begun to secure medicines from foreign suppliers to ensure supply is available. In the meantime, individuals have gone as far as going to the US to buy medicines while they wait for the shelves to be restocked. Due to the combination of COVID, Influenza, and RSV, Canadian hospitals are well over capacity and seeing children at historic levels. Canada’s Chief Medical Officer of Health has strongly recommended the use of masks, but they are not mandated.