This week, New York’s public health officials started a new campaign to warn people that the next cold and flu season may be especially hard because COVID-19 is spreading and the respiratory syncytial virus is going around.
Mary Bassett, the New York Health Commissioner, is featured in the awareness campaign. In it, she discusses all three viruses and the need for receiving a seasonal flu vaccination as well as a COVID-bivalent booster for individuals who are eligible. The fact that the viruses can make people sick in serious ways and have symptoms that are similar to each other is a problem.
RSV is a seasonal virus that can spread, especially to younger babies and people whose immune systems aren’t as strong.
“Our fight against respiratory illnesses begins with protecting New Yorkers from infection, and we are taking action to raise awareness of these viruses and keep vulnerable New Yorkers safe and healthy,” Gov. Kathy Hochul said. “This awareness campaign is part of our multi-pronged, aggressive efforts to stop the spread of infectious disease and do everything we can to protect the health of New Yorkers.”
The United States Department of Health and Human Services is distributing three movies across social media platforms, including one that is aimed specifically at parents and another that is directed at medical professionals.
“These videos deliver an important message to all New Yorkers about the respiratory viruses spreading this season and the steps people can take to protect themselves and their loved ones,” Bassett said. “This new public awareness campaign reinforces the Department of Health’s other public awareness efforts by providing New Yorkers some practical ways to avoid contracting and spreading RSV, flu, and COVID-19 viruses this fall and winter, including reminding parents to get both flu and COVID-19 shots for themselves and their children 6 months and older.”
Since the start of the school year in September, most rules about the pandemic have been lifted. Since then, health officials in the state of New York have been keeping an eye out for an increase in COVID cases and hospitalizations this winter.