‘Tripledemic’ | Louisville health experts sound alarm as flu, RSV and COVID

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — Health experts in Louisville are calling it a “tripledemic”, as hospitals nationwide become overwhelmed with a combination of respiratory viruses and illnesses that are especially dangerous to children and senior citizens.

Kristina Bryant, an epidemiologist at Norton Children’s Hospital in Louisville, says no one is immune. “It is a real thing,” she said. “We are seeing hospitalizations in kids of all ages.”

Health experts have coined a term for the three-fold threat of RSV, flu and COVID: “tripledemic.”

Bryant says Norton Children’s Hospital “has been seeing record numbers of kids in the emergency department.”

It’s happening in pediatric emergency rooms across the country, and now the American Academy of Pediatrics is calling on President Biden to declare a national emergency.

In Louisville 20 pediatric patients are currently hospitalized with influenza at Norton Children’s. And Bryant says there are many more respiratory cases. 

“If we just look at who is hospitalized at Norton Children on the downtown campus today, we have three kids hospitalized with COVID, two additional kids who have COVID and RSV,” Bryant said, adding: “We have 11 kids hospitalized with just RSV infections.”

According to the CDC, hospitalization rates for the week of Nov. 12th were twice as high as any other flu season on record.

The White House says the country’s national stockpile has supplies like ventilators and personal protective equipment, but so far there aren’t any states that have requested them.

Bryant reminds everyone not to forget the precautions that were taken during the height of the pandemic, not the least of which is to stay home if you’re feeling sick. 

“It’s important for people who have cold symptoms to stay home so they don’t infect someone else,” Bryant said. 

“Last year, flu season went all the way until June so multiple viruses can circulate in one season. 

Instead of declaring a national emergency, federal officials say they are ready to assist communities on a case-by-case basis.

As usual, one of the best precautions you can take is to make sure you and your children keep up to date on vaccinations, including the latest COVID booster. 

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