Experts Predict Severe Respiratory Virus Season
The United States could be dealing with a “tripledemic” of flu, COVID-19, and RSV this winter.
Analysis recently released by Reckitt Professional‘s Lysol Pro Solutions (a science-led business to business offering), in partnership with BlueDot Inc. (an artificial and human intelligence organization for detecting, assessing, and responding to global infectious diseases), predicts a potentially severe season of respiratory viruses this winter in the United States.
Research designed for Reckitt by BlueDot suggests the nation could expect a higher incidence influenza (flu), as those cases return to pre-pandemic levels, while still dealing with COVID-19 cases. The study’s findings concluded that the combination of flu and COVID-19, along with new surges in other respiratory viruses, such as respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), could place an exceptionally high strain on the U.S. medical system.
The study also foresees unpredictability. The country is likely to experience unusually timed peaks in hospitalizations from flu and COVID-19. The inability to firmly determine the timing of the flu season could make planning for vaccination campaigns much more challenging. The uncertainty will also call for more diligence and caution, as it will be more difficult to determine the flu season’s peak.
“We are in unprecedented times with rebounding flu cases and other infections, the continued prevalence of COVID, and relaxed pandemic precautions,” said Dr. Andrea Thomas, director, epidemiology at BlueDot. “COVID-19 still burdens health care systems, and evidence indicates that the U.S. is likely to widely face pre-pandemic levels of flu this winter as we’ve already seen in countries in the southern hemisphere. Adding further complexity is the inconsistent and abnormal flu season periods that we saw over the summer in the U.S. and in many countries globally, which makes it difficult to anticipate and respond.”
The findings underscore the importance of hygiene as the foundation for health in all settings, including businesses. A host of precautionary measures can be put in place to help combat the severity of the impact of the flu and COVID-19, including avoiding close contact with people who are sick, covering coughs and sneezes, improving air filtration, cleaning and disinfecting of high-touch surfaces that are likely to be contaminated, and practicing good hand hygiene.
“It’s important that everyone—both businesses and citizens—play a role in helping to combat the spread of respiratory diseases,” said Thomas. “One of many ways everyone can help to protect their communities is by upholding good hygiene practices as we head into what is likely to be a very challenging fall and winter.”
In a recent episode of BioTalk, a GBACtv production, Jeff Cross, the media director for ISSA, along with co-host Patricia Olinger, the executive director of the Global Biorisk Advisory Council™ (GBAC), a Division of ISSA,, spoke with John Cordier, CEO and co-founder of Epistemix, and Dr. Donald Burke, president and co-founder of Epistemix, as well as an infectious disease physician and epidemiologist, to learn more about the potential “tripledemic.”
“So, is this real? Most definitely—this is real,” Burke confirmed in the interview. “Already, most of the hospitals are being overwhelmed by RSV… Influenza is ticking up… and the background of SARS-CoV-2 [COVID-19] is there—and there’s every sign that, with new variances emerging almost every month or two, that there will be a resurgence this winter as well.” Burke suggested that improving indoor air quality would be an effective way to keep the incidence of respiratory virus diseases down.
To find out more, click on the video below. Also check out RSV Cleaning and Prevention, Prepare Your Facility for Influenza, and How Commercial Cleaning Practices Have Changed Since COVID-19.