Public health failures spurred RSV surge, nurses say

The notion that rising cases of respiratory syncytial virus are due to children's lack of exposure amid masking and stay-at-home orders is "flawed conjecture that is not based on science," National Nurses United said Nov. 14.

Instead, NNU contends that the uptick in virus activity is due to a "complete abandonment" of public health measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses.

The nation's largest nurses union said there is no evidence that an "immunity debt" is causing the jump in RSV cases and cited CDC data showing that positivity rates for RSV were actually higher in 2021 than they are now.

"Promoting the idea of ‘immunity debt’ is not only unscientific, it is harmful to the public's health," NNU President Deborah Burger, RN, said in a news release. 

NNU has been advocating for heightened infection control efforts since the start of the pandemic to protect nurses and the public. 

"We know that we are not safe until everyone is safe," Ms. Burger said. "We continue to fight for the strongest protections for healthcare and other front-line workers. We need the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to issue a permanent Covid standard to protect nurses and other healthcare workers."


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