COVID down. RSV, flu up: 4 notes

New weekly COVID-19 admissions are down for the fourth week straight, according to the latest data from the CDC. Meanwhile, flu and respiratory syncytial virus are starting to rise. 

COVID-19: COVID-19 metrics declined in the U.S. for the week ending Oct. 7. A total of 16,766 new COVID-19 admissions were reported this week, marking an 8.2% decline from the week prior. Emergency department visits related to the disease were also down nearly 18%. The decline in activity comes after about three months of steady increases in hospitalizations. Based on past trends, however, experts predict the nation may see another winter uptick in December or January — the same time of the year flu tends to peak. 

RSV: Cases of RSV have been slowly rising in the U.S. Overall, the positivity rate remains much lower than this time last year, though some hospitals in the South have started to see RSV hospitalizations increase. Holtz Children's Hospital in Miami has seen a "five-fold increase for influenza and a two-fold increase for RSV," the hospital's chief medical officer, Barry Gelman, MD, told a local news outlet in a report earlier this month. 

Flu: Flu activity remains low nationally, with a positivity rate of 1.1% for the week ending Oct. 7. CDC officials told NBC News activity will likely ramp up over the next few weeks. Just over 1,100 patients with lab-confirmed flu were admitted to the hospital for the week ending Oct. 7, up slightly from the week prior. Most cases reported so far this season are influenza A.

Hospitalizations for flu, COVID-19 and RSV are projected to peak at the end of January. With that timeline, hospitals may see similar levels of capacity and resource strain as last respiratory virus season, since peaks may overlap. Health experts have been optimistic that a collection of vaccines and a new monoclonal antibody for RSV would largely prevent severe illness and minimize capacity strain on hospitals. However, signficiant hurdles in accesssing the shots may prevent them from reaching those most at risk of severe illness before virus season is in full swing. 




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