'Tripledemic' has peaked, CDC data suggests

The weekly rate of emergency department visits and hospitalizations for flu, COVID-19 and respiratory syncytial virus peaked in early December, new CDC data shows. 

The CDC unveiled two data dashboards Jan. 17 that track emergency department visits and hospitalizations for COVID-19, flu and RSV. 

ED visits for flu, RSV and COVID-19 peaked the week ending Dec. 3, hitting a weekly total of 235,850 before falling through December and the first half of January. The nation's current weekly total was 72,119 as of Jan. 14, according to the ED dashboard. The dashboard uses information from the CDC's National Syndromic Surveillance Program, which receives data from 73 percent of the nation's EDs. 

The combined hospitalization rate for flu, RSV and COVID-19 peaked at 22.5 admissions per 100,000 in the week ending Dec. 3. This figure now sits at 9.4 per 100,000 for the week ending Jan. 7, though the CDC said reporting delays may affect the most recent week's data.

RSV hospitalizations peaked in mid-November, while flu hospitalizations peaked in early December, CDC data shows. COVID-19 admissions also appear to be leveling off nationwide, even as the highly transmissible omicron subvariant XBB.1.5 gains prevalence. This trend suggests the U.S. will see more of a COVID-19 "bump" this winter versus a full-fledged surge, experts told The New York Times.

The hospitalization dashboard is based on virus surveillance conducted by hospitals in 13 states, covering more than 29 million people. Hospitalization rates are unadjusted and may be an underestimate of the true burden of virus hospitalizations, the agency said.


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