Thanksgiving may accelerate 'tripledemic,' experts say

Heightened travel and indoor gatherings for Thanksgiving could accelerate the spread of respiratory viruses and magnify the threat of a "tripledemic" this winter, health experts told NPR in a Nov. 22 report.

Children's hospitals are facing unprecedented capacity issues amid a surge in respiratory syncytial virus, and flu hospitalizations are already at the highest level seen in 13 years. Highly transmissible omicron subvariants are also gaining prevalence nationwide, raising the possibility of a winter COVID-19 surge, though most experts predict any such surge would be less severe than past years. 

"These holiday celebrations with all their travel and their close contact usually function as virus accelerators," William Schaffner, MD, an infectious disease specialist at Nashville, Tenn.-based Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, told NPR. "We're spending a lot of time with each other. We're laughing and breathing deeply. And that's an ideal environment for these respiratory viruses to spread to others."

Experts said people should consider testing for COVID-19 before gatherings, using Zoom to connect with loved ones if they're sick and masking up as much as possible during the holiday weekend. 

Read the full article here.

 

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