The Head of the CDC Claims that the US is still Far from Peak Flu or COVID cases for the Season

Head of the CDC
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As winter begins, Dr. Mandy Cohen, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), warns of an uptick in flu and Covid cases in the United States. The current data indicates a notable increase in flu levels, especially in the southern regions, alongside rising Covid cases on a national scale. Although respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) has peaked earlier this year, the peaks for flu and Covid are yet to come.

Notably, the pattern this season contrasts with the previous year when all three viruses peaked simultaneously. Despite a 16% decrease in positive RSV tests as of December 9, this season is considered more typical for RSV, with no significant strains on pediatric hospitals.

Dr. Cohen underlines the potential impact of the JN.1 variant, constituting 21% of Covid cases nationally, due to its increased transmissibility. However, existing vaccines are expected to provide effective protection against this variant.

To address low vaccination rates, the CDC issued an alert emphasizing the importance of updated shots for Covid, flu, and RSV. Vaccination rates for updated Covid shots and flu shots are slightly lower this year. The flu shot appears to be a good match for circulating strains, reducing the risk of flu hospitalizations by 52% in the Southern Hemisphere.

Regarding RSV vaccines, newly introduced this year, only 17% of older adults have received RSV shots. Dr. Cohen urges individuals to consider not only their individual infection risk but also the risks to those they plan to celebrate with during holiday gatherings, taking into account factors such as the presence of vulnerable family members or colleagues undergoing medical treatments.

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