Physicians worry simultaneous RSV, COVID-19 outbreaks will overwhelm pediatric units: 7 notes

Physicians at some U.S. hospitals are worried an unseasonable spike in respiratory syncytial virus combined with an uptick in COVID-19 cases among children could soon overwhelm pediatric units, The New York Times reported Aug. 1. 

RSV is a common flu-like illness and most often affects infants and older adults.

Six more notes: 

1. Although RSV typically peaks in the fall, cases have been on the rise since March, according to the CDC, with July seeing a sharp increase

2. RSV cases remained low in the fall and early winter of 2020, likely due to COVID-19 pandemic safety measures such as masking and social distancing. 

3. Texas Children's Hospital in Houston is now experiencing a simultaneous increase of both COVID-19 and RSV hospitalizations, Heather Haq, MD, a pediatrician at the hospital, said in a series of tweets cited by the Times

"We are on the front end of a huge COVID-19 surge," Dr. Haq said. "But the difference this time compared to previous surges is we are simultaneously dealing with an unheard of summertime RSV surge — creating a 'surge upon surge situation,' … We are now having winter-level patient volumes of acutely ill infants/toddlers with RSV, and I worry that we will run out of beds and staff to handle the surge upon surge."

4. Some patients hospitalized at Texas Children's Hospital are co-infected with COVID-19 and RSV or other viruses, Dr. Haq wrote. 

5. To deal with the increased patient volume, "my pediatric colleagues and I are being called to work mandatory overtime shifts in the coming months," Dr. Haq said. 

6. Florida, Louisiana and Oklahoma are among other states seeing a rise in pediatric RSV infections. 


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