Dr. Mary Bassett, the state health commissioner, issued a warning to the people of New York as part of a public awareness campaign about the respiratory viruses that are now circulating.
“This fall we’re facing a triple threat from respiratory infections like RSV, flu, and COVID-19. RSV is not a new virus, but it can be dangerous for very young children,” Bassett said.
There is now a record number of infants and young toddlers being treated in hospitals for the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and the hospitals are having a hard time dealing with the increased number of patients. At the beginning of the month, there were over 4,500 cases of the virus in New York City. According to data provided by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there has been a clear rising trend in the number of cases reported throughout the country as well.
One of the issues parents currently face is that they may have difficulties identifying whether their children have flu, RSV, or COVID since all three viruses can lead to identical symptoms.
The fact that the RSV spike is happening now is maybe the most alarming aspect, since the RSV spike should usually occur in either December or January. The most reasonable explanation for this is probably that many of the children have spent most of the last two years at home because of the COVID-19 pandemic and have failed to develop an immune response to common viruses.
In an effort to reduce the amount of strain placed on already overburdened medical facilities, health officials are asking that parents consult with their child’s pediatrician before sending their ill child to the emergency room.