US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy warned this week that respiratory illnesses like Covid, RSV, and the flu are pushing U.S. hospitals to the brink this fall.
“Hospitals are filling up, children’s hospitals in particular,” he told ABC’s Good Morning America while urgeing Americans to take precautions against all viruses.
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His warning comes as the seasonal flu, which apparently disappeared during the covid pandemic, returned this year with a vengeance.
Yahoo News reports: This fall, pediatric hospitals are brimming with an unusually high number of patients who are sick from several different viruses—predominantly RSV, flu, and COVID, but also influenza-like viruses like rhinovirus and enterovirus. As a result of this “tripledemic,” many hospitals are at or near capacity. Some are far beyond it, having made room for patient overflow in offices, gift shops, play areas, and parking-lot tents.
But adult hospitals are also struggling owing to the surge in respiratory illnesses. Federal health officials stand ready to deploy troops and FEMA personnel, and supplies like ventilators from the Strategic National Stockpile, they said in November, as they announced that the U.S. had officially reached epidemic levels of the flu.
Handwashing, masking in crowded places, staying home when sick, and getting the COVID and flu vaccine are simple steps Americans can take to free up hospital beds for those who truly need them, Murthy said.
“It’s more important than ever … that we take these measures, because they’re one way that we can take care of our kids, [and] also relieve the strain on health care workers.”
The federal government is supporting hospitals in need with “personnel, ventilators, equipment,” Murthy said. “We are also working closely with them to coordinate so that across a given region or a state, beds can be utilized at the most efficient.”