Title: Respiratory Viruses Spreading in Missouri, but Hospitals Managing Well, says The Daily Guardian
In the midst of the winter season, respiratory viruses are on the rise across Missouri and the rest of the country. Though the situation may seem alarming, hospital officials are relieved that this flu season feels more normal compared to the tumultuous battle against the COVID-19 pandemic. The Daily Guardian brings you an update on the current state of respiratory viruses and the ongoing efforts to manage them effectively.
Winter has always been a prime time for the spread of cold and flu due to people being indoors and in close proximity to one another, especially during holiday celebrations. Unfortunately, recent winters were compounded by the high number of severely sick COVID-19 patients. This raised concerns about the healthcare system’s capacity to handle a severe flu season. Additionally, the decline in prevention measures like mask-wearing and social distancing led to a surge in cases of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), particularly among children.
While emergency departments and urgent care centers are experiencing increased patient volumes, hospitals are not as overwhelmed as they were during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is partly due to the fact that COVID-19 patients are generally not as sick as before, thanks to the effectiveness of vaccination and prior exposure to the virus. The disease is now acting more like a typical respiratory virus, causing upper respiratory infections, cough, and other symptoms.
Missouri has witnessed a gradual increase in hospital admissions for COVID-19 since October, with numbers reaching their highest point since last winter. However, it is important to note that these figures are still significantly lower than the peak seen during the omicron variant surge in January 2022.
Fortunately, this flu season appears to be milder compared to recent seasons, except for the first winter of the pandemic when flu cases were low due to COVID-19 prevention measures. Missouri currently reports a “moderate” level of flu activity, whereas other parts of the country are experiencing “high” levels.
Notably, hospitals are also witnessing an increase in patients with other respiratory viruses such as RSV, rhinovirus, and enterovirus. To combat this, immunizations against RSV for infants and a new vaccine for pregnant women are now more readily available and can have a positive impact. RSV, in particular, poses a significant threat to older adults and children, often resulting in hospitalizations and even deaths.
The efforts put into COVID-19 education during the pandemic have led to increased mask-wearing and staying home when sick. These practices have proven helpful in limiting the spread of all respiratory viruses. It is crucial for the public to continue adopting these preventive measures to protect themselves and others.
As the flu season continues, The Daily Guardian remains committed to keeping our readers informed about the latest developments in respiratory viruses, ensuring the well-being of our community. Stay vigilant, stay safe, and we’ll navigate through these challenges together.
“Hardcore web nerd. Twitteraholic. Analyst. Reader. Coffee guru. Travel ninja. Amateur troublemaker. Zombie geek.”