“Tripledemic” anticipated to hit U.S., experts concerned about shortage of health care workers

This winter, the United States might have a “tripledemic,” with COVID-19, flu, and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) all on the rise at the same time.

Cases of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) are increasing rapidly among young children, who generally catch the virus by age three but are protected from it and other diseases during lockdown times.

“Pediatric ICUs around the country, many parts of it, are full,” said CBS News medical contributor Dr. David Agus. Most hospitalizations now are related to influenza and RSV, not COVID-19, he added.

At the same time that there are more cases of three different viruses, more health care workers are leaving the field for better-paying or less physically and emotionally demanding jobs. This could put the already stressed health care system of the United States in even more danger.

“I’m concerned that hospitals, health care providers are going to be overwhelmed,” said CBS News medical contributor and Kaiser Health News editor-at-large Dr. Celine Gounder. “We’re looking at very high rates of both flu and RSV, so probably something around like 35,000 hospitalizations per week just from those two conditions.”

COVID-19 is still present, of course. “Will we be prepared? Will the beds be available? I’m quite worried about that, “Gounder added.

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