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Respiratory virus season in the US isn't over yet

·1 min

After a recent decline, flu activity in the United States is starting to increase again, and overall respiratory virus levels remain high. During the week ending January 27, there was an 8% increase in diagnoses of influenza in emergency departments compared to the previous week. The test positivity rate for flu also went up. Although a second surge of flu activity after the winter holidays is common, it is difficult to predict the severity or duration of the full season. It is too early to determine if this surge is the start of a second wave or a temporary blip. Covid-19 and RSV are also circulating at high levels, although their visits to emergency departments are declining. 18 states and Washington, DC still have high or very high levels of respiratory illness. The burden of disease from flu this season has been significant, with millions of illnesses, hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations, and thousands of deaths. There is early data suggesting that the latest Covid-19 vaccine and this year’s flu shot offer strong protection, and it is still recommended to get vaccinated. Practicing proper etiquette like hand washing, covering coughs and sneezes, and staying home when sick can help prevent the spread of these diseases.