When hospitalizations for 'tripledemic' viruses may peak

New forecasting from life science analytics company Airfinity suggests U.S. hospitalizations from COVID-19, flu and respiratory syncytial virus will peak at the end of January. 

The modeling predicts there will be around 57,000 weekly admissions at that time, compared to last year's winter peak of around 80,000. While lower than last year, the respiratory viruses' combined burden on hospitals is still predicted to be worse than pre-pandemic. The forecasting anticipates total admissions for the viruses will reach 1.15 million this winter, more than three times the level seen during the last pre-pandemic respiratory virus season in 2018-19. 

New COVID-19 admissions have been on the rise for several weeks in the U.S., CDC data shows. There were 17,418 new admissions for the week ending Aug. 26, a 15.7 percent jump from the week prior. Weekly emergency department visits for COVID-19, flu and RSV have largely remained flat in recent weeks. However, the CDC issued a health alert Sept. 5 saying RSV activity has risen across the Southeast in recent weeks, suggesting the nation will see national uptick within a few months. 

Vaccines will be available for each of the illnesses this year, which experts are hopeful will limit severe disease and burden on hospitals. 

This year marks the first time RSV vaccines will be available for adults 60 and older, a group that is at high risk of severe disease. A monoclonal antibody will also be available for infants and toddlers. New COVID-19 shots are also expected to roll out soon. 


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