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More people are getting sick with COVID-19 and the flu again.
Earlier in December, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned that from mid-November onwards, more people of all ages got sick enough from COVID-19, flu, and RSV to end up in a hospital. The CDC also noted that vaccination rates are low, so more people could end up severely ill and strain hospital capacity.
While the situation has yet to reach the “tripledemic” season from last winter, some hospitals in New York, Wisconsin, and Washington State are requiring visitors to wear masks again, to try and prevent these respiratory illnesses from spreading.
Starting in 2020, when COVID-19 was still a major concern and more people wore masks and stayed away from crowds, the usual winter diseases like flu did not spread as much. But now that those measures are not as common, the flu season is most likely back to normal, said Dr. Judith O’Donnell, director of infection prevention and control at Penn Presbyterian Medical Center.
“This is probably the most numbers of flu cases we’ve seen in the community in many years at this point, so I think we’re on track for having a more traditional flu season,” she said.