The threat of a ‘triple-demic’


Like the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), which has also been infecting an increasing number of children at an unseasonably early rate as compared to previous years, influenza cases remained relatively placid throughout the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. This is large because lockdowns and other preventative measures that were implemented throughout the pandemic prevented many from being exposed to these and other respiratory viruses.

In addition to the already high rates of RSV and flu, COVID-19 cases are also expected to surge this year as a result of the transition of more people indoors and the continual emergence of new escape variants of the causative severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2).

Taken together, the circulation of these three viruses this season may lead to a ‘triple-demic,’ which will likely increase the burden on already strained healthcare systems. Despite the added pressure of these new hospitalizations in some states, adequate supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE) and ventilators remain available for their immediate use.