America’s “triple-demic” could soon be coming to an end – as cases of both the flu and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) have fallen for the second week in a row.
In their weekly flu report today, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed 33,041 infections in the week ending Dec. 17, a drop of 26 percent on a weekly basis.
Cases of RSV also continued to fall to 3,554 illnesses that week — a 76 percent drop from the first week of December and a low since mid-September.
The report comes days after a CDC spokesman warned Americans that outbreaks of respiratory disease could continue well into winter this year.
As the flu and RSV decline, Covid begins to rise – along with the bacterial infection Strep A.
Flu cases fell for the second straight week in the most recent CDC report, with 33,041 confirmed infections. This is a decrease of 26 percent compared to previous weeks
RSV cases continued to fall this week, falling to 3,554 confirmed infections. This is half as many cases as the previous week, and the lowest weekly infection total since mid-September
Fears of a so-called “tripleemia” first emerged during the summer when Australia and New Zealand – whose winter falls in America’s summer – experienced devastating flu seasons.
For the past two years, experts have pointed to lockdowns, mask mandates and other pandemic orders as the reason why this year’s flu season has been more brutal than the past.
This is America’s worst flu season since the 2009 swine flu pandemic — and experts have been warning for months that it would be a long and harsh winter.
At one point earlier this month, hospitals were more crowded than ever during the pandemic.
But the latest CDC update shows that the number of cases is declining and continuing as both the flu and RSV burn through.
The 33,041 flu cases is the lowest weekly infection rate since the week ending November 19.
It represents a 27 percent drop from the flu outbreak’s peak of 45,792 cases in the week ending Dec. 3.
These numbers are huge underestimates because many cases go undetected as Americans endure symptoms of the virus at home.
However, the positivity of cases for the flu has remained consistent, with 24 percent of swabs detecting the virus. This is only a small decrease from the 25 percent a week earlier.
The flu poses no threat to the majority of Americans, but it can often affect the elderly, young children, and the immunocompromised.
The number of states experiencing severe flu transmission is also declining.
In the most recent CDC update, 22 states recorded “very high” flu activity — down from 25 the week before.
Six states record the highest levels of transmission, up from eight last week.
It was not the only annual virus to resurface this fall, only to return after a late autumn peak.
Officials reported 3,554 new RSV cases during the week ending Dec. 17, less than half of the 8,366 recorded a week earlier — and a 76 percent drop in 14 days.
Test positivity rates are also declining, with 6.5 percent of Pap smears coming back showing infection.
According to the CDC, 22 states are suffering from “very high” flu activity, up from 25 last week. Only six states record the highest levels of flu transmission
The virus does not pose much of a threat to adults, but it can cause serious illness or even death in young children and older adults.
Officials have assured the public in recent weeks that RSV has begun to decline. Earlier this week, however, the CDC warned that the light at the end of the tunnel could be further than it appears.
A CDC spokesperson told Fox 5 DC, “We expect high levels of respiratory virus activity to continue for several weeks or possibly even months.”
Bottles of Tylenol for babies sold for nearly $240 online as sellers cashed in on shortages
Tylenol for babies is being sold online at 30 times its original price as predatory sellers monetize the “triple epidemic” sweeping the United States.
Online pharmacies charge up to $237 for a single 160mg box of Tylenol for babies, which usually costs just $8.
A massive outbreak of flu, RSV and Covid, and other respiratory bugs among children has led to nationwide shortages of pediatric medications, including Tamiflu, Tylenol and the antibiotic amoxicillin.
Major pharmacy chains like CVS and Walgreens have been forced to ration their supplies to cope with the crisis that has been going on for months.
Yesterday, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released Tamiflu — a flu drug used in hospitals — from the nation’s national emergency supply. Opening this stock is rare and only used in emergency situations.
Customers report finding an online store that sells a single case of Infant’s Tylenol for $237.83.
The same drugs are available for $8.79 at pharmacies such as Walgreens.
Children have been hit hardest by these viruses so far, and it’s gotten so bad that some parents are struggling to find basic medicines for them.
Earlier this week, CVS said it would limit in-store and online purchases of childhood fever and pain relievers — including Tylenol, Advil and Motrin — to two boxes each.
Walgreens has limited online purchases of the drugs to six purchases at a time, while there is no limit for personal use.
Both CVS and Walgreens do not stock Tylenol for kids online. Several DailyMail.com-monitored pharmacies in New York City also had the drug unavailable for in-store pickup.
Anecdotal reports also circulated on social media from parents across the country struggling to get their children’s medications.
Some hospitals also feel this shortage. Tamiflu, the primary drug used by hospitals to treat the flu, is hard to find in some parts of the country.
While the Food and Drug Administration does not officially classify the drug as a nationwide shortage, regional scarcity has forced HHS to intervene.
The leading US health agency announced Wednesday that it would make additional supplies of Tamiflu available to hospitals from the country’s national supply.
This stockpile is a collection of drugs stored by the government in case of a national emergency.
“Today we are taking action so that every jurisdiction can meet the increased demand for Tamiflu this flu season,” Dr. Xavier Becerra, secretary of the HHS, said in a statement.
“State stockpiles can be used, and if jurisdictions need access to the Strategic National Stockpile, they now have it to respond to the current seasonal flu outbreak.”
While the other viruses falter, Covid takes its place. National case rates are up five percent in the past two weeks to 70,435 a day.
However, the number of deaths has not kept pace and fell by eight percent to 422 during the same period.
Case numbers are also a significant drop from last year around Christmas, as the country recorded 200,000 daily infections during the first Omicron outbreak.